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Wahlberg's Eagle

Wahlberg's Eagle
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-07
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2013-06-21 22:35
Viewed: 3977
Points: 56
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Wahlberg's Eagle / Aquila wahlbergi

Today I share number 61 in the series of birds of the Kruger National Park, the Wahlberg's Eagle.

Whenever you spot an eagle in one of the National Parks it is such a feeling of excitement that comes over you. If you are fortunate to come close enough to capture one of these beautiful birds of prey it is as if your adrenalin goes into overdrive, and stopping so close to one where you actually can look it in the eye, you are tempted to stop breathing for the time you take the photographs.

This image was taken from my archives from 2009 when I just started photography as a hobby. I was delighted when we stopped next to the tree where this eagle was sitting and I was able to take some photographs so close to it.

There are several morph forms of Wahlberg's Eagles. Dark morphs are rufous to dark brown with pale edges along the wing-coverts, head, and underside. Rare pale morphs are white except for gray-brown wing-coverts, scapular feathers, and back, and a black tail and flight feathers. Intermediates are light brown, buff, or rufous with varying combinations of dark and pale morphs. All Wahlberg's Eagles have a gray under tail and pale primary feather bases. The eyes are dark brown and the cere and feet are yellow.
Juveniles are similar to adults, except for greater pale edges on the wing-coverts and heavier streaking along the head and neck. They are quiet birds, except when around the nest. Their main call is a shrill, whistling "kleee ee" or "kleee ay".

They live in woodland, wooded savannah, grassland, and cultivated areas, often close to rivers. They avoid dense forest and arid regions and prefer flat terrain as opposed to hilly and mountainous regions. They are found from 1,800-2,800m above sea level.

They are found in different areas of Africa based on the breeding season and the rainy season. Their main breeding areas are in sub-Saharan Africa along Kenya, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and south of that to north eastern South Africa, in addition to Uganda, Ethiopia, southern Sudan, Senegal, and Gambia. Most adults are long-distance migrants, arriving in their southern range during August-September and leaving in March-April. In eastern Africa they move south in July-August and breed along the equator. Some eagles may be sedentary, nomadic, or short-distance migrants along the equator, remaining in the same general area year-round. There are an estimated 100,000 individuals over a range of 12,600,000km square.

Diet and hunting
They eat reptiles, mammals, and birds, in roughly the same proportions, taking ground lizards, snakes, small rodents, hyraxes, bats, larks, guinea fowl, bustards, owls, and nestlings, among others. They are also known to hunt amphibians and insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and termites.

Most of their prey is taken on the ground, though they will chase birds in flight. They still-hunt from a perch, follow grass fires for insects, and are known kleptoparasites, having been observed stealing food from the Long-Crested Eagle. One pair fed their chicks on herons and egrets alone using cooperative hunting: one eagle forced the heron and egret parents to flee the nest while the other attacked the nestlings.

Breeding displays are short and consist of circling, claw-grappling, and sky dances. The breeding season is from September-February, except in eastern Africa where they breed from July-November. Pairs are monogamous.

The nest is usually 45-80cm across and 25-60cm deep and lined with green leaves. It is placed 8-12m up in the canopy of a baobab, acacia, eucalyptus, or other tall tree, often close to water. 1-2 eggs are laid, usually 1, and incubated for 44-46 days. The eggs have a variety of markings, from being pure white to having dark and rufous blotching. Fledging takes 62-80 days, most frequently 70-75.

They are one of the most common eagles in sub-Saharan Africa, and though poisoning and hunting are threats, their population hasn’t declined in decades. Wahlberg’s Eagles are currently listed as Least Concern by BirdLife International. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

aruntp, Hotelcalifornia, jcoowanitwong, nagraj, marius-secan, CeltickRanger, cobra112, Chiza, pierrefonds, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Magnificent capture of this Eagle up there on a tree, neighbour Anna.
The dorsal exposure shows the plumage of the bird very clearly. With its head turned slightly, the bird gives a complete impression of itself.
Thanks for sharing another great image from your archives.

  • Great 
  • aruntp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 590 W: 1 N: 357] (5379)
  • [2013-06-21 23:28]

Excellent angle. nicely presented. the species look large and beautiful. tfs.

Hello Anna,
Beautiful picture of this Wahlberg's Eagle in its natural habitat.Very sharp focus on subject with splendid colour.Well captured.
Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards,

Hello Anna,
照的很清晰 也很漂亮
角度也特別 看起來很好看

Hello Anna,
Great Eagle, he posed for an interesting shot.

Hello Anna, As you said this is truly an exciting moment. The subject was captured with all fine details to appreciate. Nice pose and well composed. Very well done and tfs. JC

Ciao Anne, great caoture of superb eagle, lovely composition with beautiful ambientation, fine details, wonderful colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-06-22 7:54]

Good portrait of lovely raptor. tfs.

Anna this is a Great shot of this lovely Eagle
Great sharpness and very natural lit

Hello Anna,
What a nice image witha nice specimen and interesting too.....Excellent capture of a lovely specie. The composition, the light and exposure are very good. Fantastic razor sharp details. This is a gorgeous fellow which I never seen before...Fascinating details and focus.
Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-06-22 15:58]

Hi Anna,a very nice and different eagle,looks very friendly and a bit funny too,like a girl that is exit from the bed in the morning..ehee...great and nice capture,whit the best exposure,details and colors despite the difficult light.Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • IronM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 3 N: 345] (2608)
  • [2013-06-23 5:54]

Hi Anne,
wonderful photo of this amazing bird,
lovely composed, beautiful details, lighting !
Thanks !
Best regards !

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-06-23 6:37]

Hello Anna,
What a great close photo of this Wahlberg's Eagle. One of the best I ever saw. The markings and details in the feathers are impressive. Lovely pose, splendid natural colours and taken from the best POV.

Hello Anna

Great capture of this species of Eagle,
fine lateral POV and appropriate vertical framing,
for me the background leafs and vegetation
it is a plus for the photo, excellent focus,
sharpness, details, of the subject, TFS


Ciao Anna. Good angle and colours results. Excellente details.


  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2013-06-23 13:18]

Olá Anna bela foto com uma captura excelente,belas cores e nitidez,meus parabéns.

Hello Anna
beautiful picture of this eagle.
nice calrity and colour .
well composed indeed.
best wishes,

  • Great 
  • Chiza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 133 W: 0 N: 474] (5351)
  • [2013-06-24 21:18]

Hola Anna, que belleza de foto y de especie, se ve imponente y poderosa esta hermosa Aguila. Me gusta mucho el color, la luz, el entorno y la actitud del ave; una gran toma de verdad...saludos.

Hello Anna,
Great photography of this Eagle.Nice timing and composition.
Good color and details.
And thanks for visiting my gallery ..


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-06-25 1:21]

Hello Anna.
A really beautiful photo.The detail and clarity are very good.The colors are wonderful against the woodland BG.Very well done.Regards Siggi

Hi Anna, excellent document of this beautiful species, good capture, TFS & best regrads

Impressive bird and beautiful photo Anna! Good composition, wonderful lighting and very good sharpness.

  • Great 
  • sanjay (115)
  • [2013-06-28 9:51]

Hi anna..
Beautifully captured....and thanks for very good information on magnificent Bird

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-06-30 19:25]

Hello Anna,
I get the same feeling whenever I get close to a hawk let alone an eagle. This is truly a spectacular image of this magestic looking bird. The entire frame is filled with brightness, color and excellent detail. I would love to get a close-up shot of an eagle like this!!

HI Anna,

The tree and the branches are helping to frame the bird. The point of view is showing with precision the details and colours of the Wahlberg's Eagle. The good luminosity is enhancing the colours. Have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2013-07-06 4:12]

Hi Anna.
Wild nature world of your places is really fantastic as well as a beautifulness of the charming creature pictured by your at nice surroundings. Back POV is very attractive and the bird at so cute turn creates together with tree twig a well balanced composition. Numerous details of the scene are welcomed and strengthens esthetic effect. Warm regards and TFS.

Hello Anna
This picture is very clear, and the bird is beautiful.
Thank you, we do déciouvrir animals from Kruger Park.
Best regards

¡Soberbia fotografía! Y como has dicho tu, realmente disfruto tanto como vos de este acercamiento glorioso a esta noble rapaz. Además has sabido registrar con lujo de detalle el follaje del entorno. Felicitaciones, Anna. Como siempre, eres para mí uno de los grandes referentes visuales de la vida salvaje africana.
Un abrazo.

Desde Argentina,
Hernán Bortondelo.

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