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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa



Fish Eagle - the National Bird of Namibia

Appearance: Adult: In both sexes the head, tail, chest and upper part of back is white, the abdomen and wings are a reddish-brown with black flight feathers. It has a black bill with yellow eyes and cere and the bare parts of the legs are also yellow. The only way to distinguish between male and female is the sound of their voices, the females being more melodious. They usually call in a duet, but the female can be heard more often and she also calls on her own more often than the male does, just like in an ordinary human marriage.

Juvenile - Blackish -brown with reddish-brown tips. It is only in its 5th year that the bird fully resembles the feather attire of an adult bird.

Habitat: Throughout Southern Africa, In Namibia they are found in the northern and central areas usually associated with rivers, dams, lakes and even the seashore but not on the open sea .They have breeding areas along the Kunene and Okavango rivers, throughout Eastern Caprivi, at the Hardap dam and along the Orange River.

Habits and Characteristics: The Fish Eagle is the national bird of Namibia. They are usually found in pairs in areas with large trees near water. It eats dead fish or grabs it from other fish-eating birds but can also catch fish that swims near the surface of the water, by doing shallow dive feet first into the water with its claws stretched forward until it catches the fish and then swings it upward. Sometimes they feed on small animals and birds and even carrion now and again. They have a loud ringing call which they make with the head flung backwards and then forward again.

Martial Eagle

Appearance: Adult: The head, throat, upper part of chest and flight feathers are ash-brown. The legs, belly and lower part of chest is white with brownish spots. It has a black bill, yellow eyes, yellowish cere and white toes. The sexes look alike but the male is smaller and less heavily spotted than the female. The adult bird look like the Black-chested Snake-Eagle but the latter has a plain white breast with no spots.

Juvenile - Have white trousers and grey brown above the head and chest is also white.

Habitat: Mountainous and open wooded country, savannah and deserts but not found in extreme dry parts of the Namib Desert. It has been killed in populated areas but is still common in less populated parts.

Habits and Characteristics: The Martial Eagle is the largest of the African eagles. It has a loud voice and makes a "kloo-ee, kloo-ee, kloo-ee" sound. It is usually found alone sitting on tree waiting for its prey which it kills by suddenly sweeping to the ground, killing it instantly. It mainly feeds on Dassies and ground squirrels, game birds and small animals. The male brings sticks and the female builds their nest very high up in the trees or on the top of flat-crowned acacias. The nests are used over and over again and are expanded each time so it becomes very large after a while. One or two eggs are laid in winter. The eggs are white with thinly speckled brown. It is incubated by the female for about 45 days and the chick stays in the nest for a further 14 weeks. This large bird sometimes hovers while facing the wind.

Steppe Eagle

Appearance: Adult: Large, dark-brown bird. It has yellow eyes with a dark-brown irises, a black bill and yellow cere (the soft, fleshy swelling found on the beak) and toes.

Juvenile - lighter in colour than the adult Steppe Eagle with two white bars on closed wings, in flight it shows two white bars on wings and on edge of tail feathers.

Habitat: Breeds in South-Eastern Europe, Russia and Siberia and migrates to Namibia during the rainfall season when termites are in abundance. They are present from about November to February, and can be found all over Namibia except in the coastal areas and the most south-western parts which are winter rainfall areas. These eagles are not bound to one area but move around as the rainfall occurs and are not found in Namibia during droughts.

Habits and Characteristics: Steppe Eagles spend a lot of time on the ground looking for and eating termites or they will gather in flocks sitting on trees or soar at great heights. These Eagles are important in keeping the termite population under control as they consume about 10 000kg of termites between them daily.

Tawny Eagle

Appearance: Adult: Adult bird -Cere, around the eyes and toes are yellow. It is a rufous brown and has a short, dark brown round tail it looks a lot like the Wahlberg's Eagle but it is lighter and bigger. Male and Females look alike.
Juvenile - Paler than the adults and in the next stage it has a speckled appearance as the dark feathers starts to grow out before it gets a uniformed colour as an adult.

Habitat: The Tawny eagle is found throughout Southern Africa in open or scarcely wooded areas, thornveld and desert but not along the coastal areas of Namibia.

Habits and Characteristics: Doesn't call out frequently but has a characteristic kow-kow call. This type of eagle is very lazy and instead of hunting for its prey it hangs around vultures and feeds on carrio. When it does occasionally hunt it mainly feeds on birds, snakes, ground squirrel, dassies and chameleons.

Normally 2 eggs are laid but usually only one chick survives. The eggs are laid from March to July, it is white and sometimes has slight markings and the chick is born after about 42-44 days and stays in the nest for about 3 months.

Verreaux's (Black) Eagle

Appearance: Adult: It has light brown eyes with a yellow cere and toes as well as the skin around the eyes. It has a white back against which its black wings forms a Characteristic white V when in a sitting position. The female and males are alike but the females are slightly larger. When in flight white feathers are observed at base of primary feathers. The whole leg is covered with feathers up to the base of the feet.

Juvenile - Brown with black cheeks and chest with a lighter crown and mantle.

Habitat: Found throughout Namibia (and most of Africa) in mountainous and rocky areas where its major prey, dassies, are found in abundance.

Habits and Characteristics: Although it mainly eats Dassie (rock hyrax) s it also eats large ground birds eg. Guineafowl, young baboons and small antelopes. It is famous for its graceful flight and is sometimes seen locking claws with its partner while falling earthwards. It builds its nest on the ledge of a cliff usually very high up. It lays 1-2 eggs but usually only one chick survives having killed its sibling. The eggs are laid from March to July, they are white and are sometimes blotched with red and purple and the chick is born after about 46 days and stays in the nest for about 3 months.

Wahlberg's Eagle

Appearance: Adult: Dark brown bird with a greyish crown, it is of medium size but smaller than the Tawny Eagle and its tail long and square. Its cere and toes are yellowish and its bill is black. There is a paler form of this species but it is less common.

Juvenile -Browner above and more tawny below in comparison with the adult bird.

Habitat: Wahlberg's is a migrant eagle it migrates in Africa and are found in densely wooded regions, it is common in the wooded areas in Eastern Namibia but it is found as far west as Windhoek. Although it’s a migrant bird it breeds in Namibia.

Habits and Characteristics: Although it’s not a large eagle it can kill quite large prey, such as hares and dassies but it also feeds on birds, reptiles and insects. Large numbers of these eagles are attracted by insects disturbed by veld fires. It has a greeting call, a whistle "pay-pay" for everyday communication, as well as a screaming alarm call.

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