Eagles from Mars

24 August 2019, Saturday

Martial Eagle

“Polemaetus bellicosus”


Its name is derived from the Latin word Martialis, meaning ‘from Mars’.


Martial Eagles are the largest Eagle in Africa and an apex predator right on top of the avian food chain. They feed on whatever opportunity comes around, this includes small game birds, reptiles, rodents and even small antelope. They can pick up prey weighing up to 8kg which is almost twice their own body weight!


A full grown Martial Eagle weighs up to 6.5kg with a wing span just over 2.5m and they stand up to 96cm tall. On average they are considered the fifth heaviest Eagle in the world!


In this photograph I captured a juvenile – you will notice they have paler upper parts than the adults and have whitish heads. Adults normally have a more prominent spot pattern on the belly area and the females are in fact larger than the males.


Martial Eagles can live up to 14 years (of which their first five years they are considered juvenile!) They are classified as Near Threatened as their breading rate is slow with only one egg every two years. It takes up to 45 days for an egg to hatch and then another 100 days for the little ones to leave the nest. They will stay dependent on their parents for another 2 – 3 years. Martial Eagles mate for life.


This juvenile in the picture comes to Nambiti Plains Lodge to visit quite often. It is always awesome to hear him calling after coming back from game drives in the morning. He will fly over and above the Lodge, land on a huge old blue gum tree at the waterhole, showing off in front of our Lodge whilst our guests are having breakfast outside on the deck .


Did you know that Martial Eagles are considered one of the Big 6 Birds of Southern Africa and we are fortunate enough to find them right here at our Lodge in Nambiti Private Game Reserve.


They are very majestic birds and sightings of them are always very special.


A must see for all bird lovers.

Martial Eagle

Berenice Fouché

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