How Many Types of Crowned Eagles Are There?


How Many Types of Crowned Eagles Are There?

There is only one species of Crowned Eagle, Stephanoaetus coronatus, found in sub-Saharan Africa. This large bird of prey is the sole extant member of the genus Stephanoaetus, with the Malagasy crowned eagle (Stephanoaetus mahery) having gone extinct after human settlement on Madagascar.

The Crowned Eagle: A Unique Raptor

The Crowned Eagle is a distinctive raptor, resembling a massive goshawk with its long tail and broad wings. The adult’s underparts are blotched and barred in black and white, with a variable rufous wash across the breast. The pale immature has creamy-tan underwings.

Prey and Habitat

how many types of crowned eagles are thereImage source: crowned eagle

This non-migratory, largely sedentary species primarily preys on small-to-medium-sized vertebrates, with at least 90% of its diet being mammalian. The usual prey shows pronounced regional differences, with small ungulates, rock hyrax, and small primates such as monkeys being the principal prey items throughout its range.

The Crowned Eagle inhabits riparian woodlands and various forests in sub-Saharan Africa, playing an important role in controlling prey populations within its local ecosystem.

Breeding and Behavior

The Crowned Eagle is monogamous and mates for life, breeding once every two years almost year-round, though egg-laying seems to peak from July to November. The pair builds a massive nest in a large forest tree, and the female lays 1 or 2 eggs, which she incubates for around 49 days.

This species is highly vocal and has a noisy, undulating display flight, often calling year-around in Equatorial Africa and mainly in the context of breeding and nesting activities elsewhere. The male performs an elaborate rise-and-fall display over the forest canopy, both during the breeding season and outside it as a territorial proposition.

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Conservation Concerns

The Crowned Eagle’s population is decreasing due to the almost epidemic destruction of its native tropical African forest habitat, which is a major target of various human activities such as timber harvesting, agriculture, and mining. The birds also suffer from persecution due to their size, reputation, and potential for taking small livestock.

According to the IUCN Red List, the total Crowned Eagle population size is around 5,000-50,000 mature individuals, and this species is currently classified as Near Threatened (NT).


In summary, there is only one species of Crowned Eagle, Stephanoaetus coronatus, found in sub-Saharan Africa. This large, distinctive raptor plays a crucial role in its local ecosystem, but its population is facing threats from habitat loss and persecution, leading to its Near Threatened status.