When Do Crowned Eagles Lay Eggs?

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When Do Crowned Eagles Lay Eggs?

Crowned eagles lay eggs primarily during the late African wet season or the early dry season, from July to November. The female lays one or two eggs, which she incubates for about 49 days while the male brings food to the nest.

Crowned Eagles’ Breeding Cycle

Crowned eagles have one of the most prolonged breeding cycles of any bird, taking approximately 500 days in duration. The incubation and nestling stages are about average for a tropical eagle, but it is the extraordinary post-fledging period of 9-11 months that makes the crowned eagles’ breeding cycle so long. Breeding can occur almost year-around throughout the range, though egg laying seems to peak roughly around the end of the African wet season or the early dry season, from July to November.

Egg Laying Patterns Across Africa

when do crowned eagles lay eggsImage source: crowned eagle

  • In South Africa, the crowned eagle lays its eggs from September to October.
  • In Zimbabwe, it lays from May to October.
  • Around the Congo River, the peak is mainly nearer to October.
  • In Kenya, the eggs are laid anywhere from June to November, with a peak in August through October.
  • In Uganda, the eggs are laid from December to July.
  • In West Africa, the laying peaks in October.

Clutch Size and Egg Characteristics

The clutch of the crowned eagle either contains 1 or 2 eggs. Often in East Africa, just one egg is laid. Eggs are usually just white, though may sometimes be overlaid with sparse red-brown markings. The eggs are moderate in size, averaging 68.2 mm × 53.6 mm (2.69 in × 2.11 in), with ranges of 60.9-75.5 mm (2.40-2.97 in) in length and 50.8-57.9 mm (2.00-2.28 in) in width.

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Incubation and Nestling Care

The female does up to 90% of the incubation during the day, and both sexes may deliver food to the nest. If two eggs are laid, the younger one usually dies by starvation after being outcompeted for food by the older one or even directly killed by its older sibling. No nest of wild crowned eagles has been known to successfully produce more than one fledgling, though in captivity two have been known to survive with human assistance.

Nest Replacement

When a natural disaster befalls a nest, a replacement may be made in 2 months time.

In conclusion, the crowned eagles’ breeding cycle is remarkably long, with egg-laying primarily occurring during the late African wet season or early dry season, from July to November. The specific egg-laying patterns vary across the birds’ range in Africa, but the clutch size is typically one or two eggs, which the female incubates for around 49 days. The breeding process is challenging, with only one chick typically surviving in the wild.

References:
Crowned Eagle – Kloofconservancy
Birds of Prey: The African Crowned Eagle – HubPages
Crowned Eagle – San Diego Zoo
Crowned eagle – Wikipedia
Eagles in Our Neighbourhood: The Crowned Eagle – NatureBackin