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Bateleur Eagle in Etosha

Bateleur Eagle in Etosha
Photo Information
Copyright: Rob Nicholls (nixpix) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 67 W: 26 N: 121] (444)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2002-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon D60, Canon EF 600mm f4.0 USM
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2005-07-26 3:46
Viewed: 5680
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This image of an adult Bateleur Eagle was taken at the Olifantsbad waterhole in Etosha National Park Namibia. In Etosha water is life and most of the best game viewing is at the waterholes. Winter and early summer are the best times to take advantage of this. Many of the waterholes are well placed for photography and a self-drive safari of a couple of days in this park will deliver many outstanding opportunities. Mid to late summer and even early autumn is the best time for birds and young mammals. The bird population swells with numerous migrants during this time and several of the mammals give birth to take advantage of the brief time of plenty after the rains. Thousands of flamingos breed on the pan if the rains provide adequate water.

Terathopius ecaudatus, the bateleur eagle, or berghaan as it is also commonly known in Southern Africa, is a very distinctive species. One can identify it easily on the wing due to its short tail and acrobatic flight patterns. The facial and body colouring in adults is also quite different from other eagles of this size. It holds special significance for me as it was my father’s favourite bird. This was true from the early days of my exposure to nature and photography during our family trips to the Kruger National Park in South Africa. We were then still learning about the birds and animals. Immature bateleur can be a little confusing as their distinctive colours only come through

This specimen was sitting on the dead camel thorn tree and relaxing. When he started fidgeting I started shooting and was lucky to get this shot with wings at almost full stretch. Bateluer are usually rather obliging in that they prefer to perch in dead trees or branches of trees that carry little foliage.

Etosha scenes can be challenging due to the abundance of white calcrete which creates extreme glare and can be quite distracting. By effective use of depth of field one can at least eliminate some of this factor. For the rest it is often best to try and position oneself to utilise the sparse vegetation as background. At many of the waterholes this is unfortunately not an option.

ddg, sandpiper2, chiliu, marhowie, manyee, gerhardt, paulbright has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To paulbright: Etoshanixpix 1 08-03 11:14
To gerhardt: Framednixpix 1 07-30 11:30
To elizemeijer: How far?nixpix 1 07-27 03:13
To elizemeijer: How far?nixpix 1 07-27 03:12
To zakiwi: Thanks mannixpix 1 07-26 03:52
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Critiques [Translate]

Hey Rob,

Awesome man. Great DOF and color. Well done

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2005-07-26 3:55]

Hello Rob, very nice shot with a good timing. Composition, sharpness and BG are perfect. Very well done. TFS Didier.

Great shot Rob, nice and sharp and good composition and presentation. Well done.

Hi Rob,
Great shot!
I like the pose, good wing's details and catchlight in the eye.

Hi Rob,

Congratulations on getting this difficult shot. The pose is fantastic. On top of that the DOF is great, and I like the composition. Well done and thanks for sharing.


Excellent pose/POV details and framing Rob! I like this perch of deadwood and the light BG has helped to make your eagle stand-out well..In the old days (when I hunted) I used the same tactic at times..Set-up and wait at their water source for the shot..So much better to come away with a photo, don't you agree! The done side is ya still have to take it home and clean it!! ;-))

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2005-07-26 11:33]

Wow, what a shot, Rob. That eagle is ready to fly off. Great capture of the moment. Beautiful POV with its wings spread out. Excellent composition with the gnarly tree in the corner. Sharp details and perfect light. Well done and TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2005-07-26 22:44]

Superbe composition, la pose et l'action de l'oiseau sur cette branche sont exceptionnels.

Félicitations pour la netteté et l'exposition !!

This is gorgeous. Love the red against the black body and that you can see under his wings. How far were you from him ??

Rob this is top notch. Frame it and hang it on the wall. Love this.

Hi Rob, this pic is extremely beautiful and very sharp.
I lived in Namibia for about 2 years (working) and Etosha is my favourite place. I went to Etosha three times during those 2 years and tell you what, I fell in love with that place. Its raw nature, raw beauty. TFS!

Wow, great shot. Very nice composition and colors. Love the sharpness.

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