Bateleur Eagle – The Street Performer of the Skies

The bateleur eagle is quite an easy bird of prey to recognise. These raptors are common in Kruger National Park and you’ll often see them soaring through the blue skies.

If you spot one of these eagles in flight, while it’s overhead enough to see its underside, be sure to take note of its wingspan. You’ll be able to identify the eagle by the distinctive arcing shape of its wings with splayed feathers at the tips, their white feathers with black trim on the underside, the solid black body and the orangey beak and feet.

Bateleur eagle in flightIf there’s one of these eagles perched in a tree, you may see it has a russet colour on its back (the colour matches the beak and claws nicely) as well as black and grey feathers.

The bird has a black fluffy head when its feathers are ruffled and a black tip on the end of its beak.

Young eagles of this kind are brown with a few white flecks and have green beaks and feet.

You may not be able to see all this detail from your car when you’re on safari, but having binoculars will help.

Terathopius ecaudatusIf the sun is behind the eagle, then that makes identification and photo taking very difficult. If you can get more than a silhouette in this circumstance you’re doing well!

On the left is a picture that we took when the sun was in the right place and not shining behind it!

Did you know that one of the Kruger Park rest camps is named after this type of eagle?

On top of this, the eagle’s name is French and means street performer. This nicely sums up its character!