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Wahlberg's Eagle

From Opus

Revision as of 19:36, 21 May 2011 by Njlarsen (Talk | contribs)
Dark morph Wahlberg's Eagle (notice crest)Photo by John DempseySouth Africa, August 2003
Dark morph Wahlberg's Eagle (notice crest)
Photo by John Dempsey
South Africa, August 2003
Hieraaetus wahlbergi

Aquila wahlbergi



Length 55-60 cm, mass 0.85-1.5 kg, females larger than males.

Three colour morphs occur, pale, dark, and buff. In flight the shape is diagnostic; the tail is seldom spread, usually appearing long, narrow and square; the wings are also long and narrow. Sitting, a crest should be present, but reportedly, it is surprisingly often not visible.

The shape of the nostrils is different between this species and Tawny Eagle; Tawny Eagle has nostrils on a diagonal that is almost vertical, while Wahlberg's Eagle has nostrils almost horizontal.


Dark morph Wahlberg's EaglePhoto by Steve GMakasutu, Western Division, The Gambia, November 2005
Dark morph Wahlberg's Eagle
Photo by Steve G
Makasutu, Western Division, The Gambia, November 2005

Sub-Saharan Africa. Widespread from Senegal to Sudan and Ethiopia and south to north-east Namibia, Botswana and north-east South Africa. Absent from the closed forests of Central Africa.

Southern breeders are migratory and winter to the north of the breeding range.


This is a monotypic species1.


Wooded savanna, riverine woodland and lakesides.

Dark morph Wahlberg's EaglePhoto by nkgrayAfsaal Picnic spot, Kruger National Park, South Africa, 15 January 2008
Dark morph Wahlberg's Eagle
Photo by nkgray
Afsaal Picnic spot, Kruger National Park, South Africa, 15 January 2008


It builds a stick nest in the fork of a tree or the crown of a palm tree and 1-2 eggs are laid.

The diet includes reptiles, small mammals and birds.


  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at
  2. Sinclair et al. 2002. Birds of Southern Africa. Princeton Field Guides, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. ISBN 0-691-09682-1
  3. Birdforum thread discussing nostril shape in eagles

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