Where Do Crowned Eagles Nest?

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Where Do Crowned Eagles Nest?

Crowned eagles, scientifically known as Stephanoaetus coronatus, are large and powerful birds of prey found in tropical Africa south of the Sahara, particularly in Southern Africa’s eastern areas. They inhabit mainly dense forests and are renowned for their strength and ferocity in taking prey, mainly monkeys and other mammals up to 20 kg (44 lb). When it comes to nesting, crowned eagles build their nests in a fork of a large forest tree, usually 12-45 m (39-148 ft) above the ground.

Nesting Locations of Crowned Eagles

Crowned eagles are known to build their nests in the following locations:

  1. Forested Areas: Crowned eagles prefer to nest in dense, forested areas, particularly in the forks of large trees, usually 12-45 m (39-148 ft) above the ground.

  2. Developed Areas: Surprisingly, crowned eagles can also nest around developed areas, including in the vicinity of suburban, developed areas. They have been observed nesting in areas with a varied and convoluted terrain, such as the black gigantic volcanic rubble fields of Tsavo West National Park, the lower Chyulu Hills, Kibwezi, and Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya.

  3. Fractured Landscapes: Crowned eagles are known to utilize fractured landscapes, such as those with nooks, crannies, valleys, overhangs, and hideaways, which allow them to exercise their particular hunting skills.

Nest Construction and Reuse

where do crowned eagles nestImage source: crowned eagle

Crowned eagles are known for their meticulous nest construction and reuse:

  • Nest Construction: The construction of a new nest may take up to 5 months, but the nests are made of sticks and lined with fresh, green branches, with new material added each year, causing the nest to grow up to 8 feet over time.

  • Nest Reuse: Crowned eagle pairs rarely build more than one nest for alternative use. Instead, they often repair and re-use existing nests during successive breeding seasons, a process that can take as much as 3 months. It is typical for an eagle pair to use a nest for more than five years.

See also  When Do Crowned Eagles Lay Eggs?

Physical Characteristics of Crowned Eagles

Crowned eagles are large and distinctive birds of prey:

  • Wingspan: 1.8 m (5.9 ft)
  • Body Length: 80-90 cm (2.6-3 ft)
  • Appearance: They have a distinctive appearance, with a double crest on their head that can be raised or lowered. Their upperparts are a blackish-brown or grey color, while their throat is brown and their belly and breast are white overlaid densely with blackish bars and blotches, variably marked with cream or rich buff.

Feeding Habits of Crowned Eagles

Crowned eagles are carnivores, and their diet consists mainly of:

  • Mammals: Small ungulates (such as duikers, chevrotains), rock hyrax, and small primates like monkeys.
  • Other Prey: Birds and large lizards are taken occasionally.

Crowned eagles are known for their strength and ferocity in taking prey, and they are monogamous, mating for life and breeding once every two years, almost year-round, though egg-laying seems to peak from July to November.

In conclusion, crowned eagles are fascinating birds of prey that build their nests in the forks of large forest trees, often in dense, forested areas, but also around developed areas and in fractured landscapes. Their nesting habits, physical characteristics, and feeding behaviors make them a unique and impressive species.

References:
Animalia.bio – Crowned Eagle
San Diego Zoo – Crowned Eagle
Carnivora.net – African Crowned Eagle
Wikipedia – Crowned Eagle
Science Direct – Crowned Eagle Nesting