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Juvenile Martial Eagle

Juvenile Martial 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: 2009-10-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 200
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2010-09-26 4:29
Viewed: 5897
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Juvenile Martial Eagle / Polemaetus bellicosus

The Martial Eagle is the 29th in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

Today's image is taken from the archives of our 2009 Kruger National Park trip. In one weeks time we will again visit this wonderful game reserve for our annual vacation in October 2010 and I really cannot wait. More than a year ago I shared a photo of this beautiful bird, but during that time I did not as yet start with the series of the birds of the Kruger which I am currently sharing, and therefore include it at this stage.

We recently acquired a very good book with the title THE RAPTOR GUIDE OF SOUTH AFRICA by Ulrich Oberprieler and Burger Cillié, and if it was not for this book I really would have had difficulty to identify these raptors. With clear coloured photographs it illustrates the birds in different stages from juvenile, immature and in the adult phase.

They are the largest of the African eagles and incredibly powerful, capable of knocking an adult man off his feet. They "reputedly" have enough power in one foot to break a man's arm. The largest eagle in Africa, the Martial eagle weighs in at almost 6.5kg and has a wingspan of about 1.95-2.6m long. The upperparts are dark brown with a white belly with black streaks; the legs are white and have very large talons. The immature bird looks quite different from the adult.

In some areas birds form an important part of the diet, including guinea fowl, francolins, bustards, and poultry. Birds as large as a European Stork are recorded to have fallen prey to the Martial Eagle. In other areas the diet is largely mammalian, especially hyrax and small antelopes. Animals as large as an Impala calf is taken, some monkeys, also occasionally young domestic goats, and lambs.

Carnivores like mongoose are sometimes taken, even occasionally Serval Cat and Jackal; also a few snakes and large lizards. It will evidently eat whatever is available, with a preference for game-birds, hyrax, and poultry. It is not known to eat carrion at all except possibly dead lambs.

Nests are built invariably in trees, at any height from 6-25m above ground, but often in the largest tree in the area, growing on a steep hillside or in a gorge, where the bird has a clear sweep off the nest. They are huge structures about 1.2-1.6m across and up to 1.2m thick and often basin-shaped when new, much broader than they are deep.

They are made of large sticks up to 4cm in diameter, lined with green leaves. They may be used by a succession of birds for many years. The breeding season may thus begin in various parts of the range in a wet season, the early dry season, or late in the dry season, and some part of the cycle must extend through rainy periods. Incubation is normally by the female, but a male has been known to sit. The female leaves the nest to feed and is not usually fed by the male at the nest.

The incubation period is probably about 45 days. The young is very weak and feeble when first hatched, but becomes more active after about 20 days. At 32 days feathers show through the down, and completely cover the bird at 70 days. The young is fed by its parent till it is well feathered and when it starts to tear up its prey itself. During the early fledging period the female remains near or on the nest, and the male hunts and brings prey.

The female remains in the area and receives prey from the male for about 50 days. After that she hunts or brings prey to the nest and the male seldom appears. The young bird, after making its first flight (at about 100 days), may return to roost in the nest for some days, and thereafter moves away from it. It remains loosely attached to the nest site for some time, and may be seen not far from it for up to 6 months.

The largest eagle in Africa, this is a bird of the uninhabited stretches of thorn bush and savannah found over much of Africa, occurring also in open plains and semi-desert country. It spends much of its time on the wing, and is usually seen soaring about hill slopes, often at a very great height rendering it almost invisible to the naked eye. Early in the morning before it takes to the wing for the day, or in the evening prior to roosting it can be seen perched in trees.

It will soar for hours without hunting. It does most of its hunting from the soar, killing or attacking by a long slanting stoop at great speed, or a gentle descent into an opening in the bush, the speed of the descent being controlled by the angle at which the wings are held above the back. It may kill from a perch, but does so seldom, and most of its kills are surprised in the open by the speed of the eagle's attack from a distance.

A pair of Martial Eagles may have a home range of anything up to 80 square km, and they wander about over most of it. They often hunt for several days in one area and then move on to another, since complaints of kills are often voiced for several days in succession in the same area. It is much shier than the other big eagles of Africa, and generally keeps away from man. Although not migratory in the strict sense it makes local movements involving flights of several hundred miles, and a pair may not habitually be found near their breeding locality. Source

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

rommel, PeterZ, ramthakur, marius-secan, eng55, nglen, siggi, tuslaw, goldyrs, boreocypriensis, paolo49, matatur, MMM, Dis. Ac., Argus, bahadir, livius, haraprasan, Noisette, Alex99, Hormon_Manyer, marhowie, jeanpaul, jusninasirun, cirano, pierrefonds, bartove, brech, maurydv has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-09-26 4:59]

Hello Anna,
Your 29th birdphoto is again a beauty. I think this is a crop, but the sharpness is still good. Very beautiful colours and an excellent composition. Nice pose with the turned head and beautiful yellow eye.

My dearest friend
this beautiful Juvenile Martial Eagle, photographed a year ago, gives really appetite for a long stay in Kruger - as you do - to watch the rich fauna in Kruger...

You offer a perfect view of the fascinating eyes and the strong, death-bringing claws.

I hope that this year will be as fruitful as last year and wish you good weather and lots of sightings!

Thank your for showing on TrekNature this beauty and all the work you put into assembling the notes!

Lots of love and big hug

Hellow Anna,
Yep it feels great to be back on track again, im sure you know what I mean.A very impressive and strong image of this young eagle, a nice diagonal perspective, sharp focus and well exposed.
Regards to you and Loot.

No wonder Eagles have historically earned the reputation of symbolically representing power, elegance and pride, Anna. This species from your country captured so beautifully against the blue sky exhibits all those values through its expression and body posture.
Thanks for digging out this priceless image from your archives and sharing it with us.
Best regards.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-09-26 7:30]

Hello Anna
Superb capture of this elegant bird of prey
Thanks for sharing

Ciao Anna, lovely diagonal composition with beautiful bird in a superb pose on blue sky, fine details, splendid sharpness, wonderful natural colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

hello Anna
great pose of this beautiful bird
great sharpness and good details
greeting lou

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-09-26 11:16]

Hi Anna,i like a lot this point of view "Jaycee" style..ehehe...a very perfect pic whit the sharpness and colors and a perfect contrast too whit the sky in background.Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano.

Hello Anna,
Excellent capture with superb POV and great details. Perfect natural colours and
amazing focus.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-09-26 11:27]

Hi Anna,
Very beautiful capture of this Eagle.His glance is terrific.Excellent POV,details and composition.Very well done!
Thanks for sharing..

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-09-26 11:33]

Hi Anna. Firstly as alway i have to say tthanks for the intersting notes on this first class picture of the Juvenile Martial Eagle. Even for a juvenile its such a fine looking bird. From your POV we can see the very stong looking legs and claws. Its bright yellow eye standing out from its broun feathers. well taken TF.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-09-26 12:07]

Hello Anna.
a superb capture for Juvenile martial eagle against blue sky.Focus and eyes contact wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Best regards Siggi

Excelente click,mito bem registrado,cores& nitidez fantásticas

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-09-26 19:02]

Hello Anna,
A great shot of this young eagle as he sits perched in his favorite tree. He obliged you by turning his head around so you could take a picture of his beautiful face. Wonderful lighting and nice detail along with stunning natural colors make this a quality photo in every aspect. Super job!!

Hi Anna!
This is a stunning shot of this Eagle with such amazing sharpness and lovely precision!
Very well seen and timed!

Hi Anna,

What a magnificent beauty! I'm sure you were very excited to see this and take a snap. The diagonal composition and the posture of the beauty just adorable. Your choice of background also worked very well. The baby eagle is perfectly sharp and isolated against the soft blue sky background.
TFS and have a nice day/new week!


Hello Anna,
Spectacular capture of this bird of prey, details and light perfect. Very beautiful the background. A very nice picture. Regards, Paolo

A fine and aristocratic looking specimen indeed Anna, Taken from a good vantage point against a pleasant, azure sky in crisp focus and exposure. Nothing to improve it, really.
TFS and cheers,

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-09-27 5:32]

Hello Anna
Nice presentation of an unknow specie for me.Good pov and great pose.Razor sharp image with great detail.
TFS Michel

Hi Anna,

thanks for your nice words on my 700th. picture.
Good pov, sharpness and nice eyecontact.
Fine colours.
Exellent long note. Such nice pictures with an point and shoot came.
Well done.


Hello Anna,
Beautiful image and composition with great details and natural colours.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-09-27 12:16]

Hello Anna,
In a perfect composition for the pose and POV you have captured a juvenile martial Eagle with superb sharpness and natural colours in lighting that defines the features so well against a clear sky.
The eye contact is excellent too.
Well done and thanks for sharing another top quality bird image.
With kind regards,

Wow, Anna, I always say that its all in the eyes! A must in any bird photo is a sharp eye with a glint in it, as in this example.
Great shot! The people who write bird books should use your photos!
Well done, look forward to number 30!

great capture and greetings from Austrialia, Ori

Hi Anna, Lovely baby eagle with nice composition and pose.
Great details too.
Best regards,

Hello Anna,
Excellent natural colours, sharp details, composition and pose . Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • livius Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 300 W: 0 N: 391] (1525)
  • [2010-09-28 11:46]

Hello Anna
posa eccellente per questo bellissimo esemplare di aquila che sembra essersi fermato per farsi immortalare dalla tua macchina forografica. Ottima luce e dettagli che ne mettono in risalto tutta la bellezza del piumaggio.

Hi Anna,
A nice capture of this beautiful Martial Eagle. A very good point of view. Sharp details and a nice composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello Anna
you have captured this Juvenile Martial Eagle of a very nice way, with superb pose and very sharp details, the blue sky is beautiful bonus
great note as always
i hope you will have a wonderful trip in the Kruger Park
have a good night

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-10-10 8:27]

Hi Anna.
Amazing, perfectly composed image of a wonderful eagle. Its pose, turning of a head and glance are very impressive. However, the image of a tree branch is also very nice and supplements the main subject excellently. Sunlight and vivid are great too. Well done and all the best.

Hola Anna

Bella imagen, de esta ave, con esa mirada penetrante que no deja nada por ver. Perfecto POV y muy buena nitidez.

Un saludo de Antonio

Hi dear Anna,
I missed your latest uploads, unfortunately, so I have a lot to comment. Fantastic photo of this African eagle, great POV, pose and sharpness. I also like the very simple background, which helps to isolate the main subject. Nice job, congrats.
Tfs, friendly regards, László

Well done Anna, love this look-back pose.
Great framing, detail, color, and exposure..
It's a magnificent raptor :)
Have a nice Sunday!

Bonjour Anna
Une excellente photo de ce bel aigle .Les couleurs sont justes et parfaitement exposées ainsi que les détails.. Félicitations pour la belle composition.

Merci et bravo...JP

Hi Anna. I was away too long from TN and now your gallery is filled with wonderful images. This is a wonderful capture of the eagle from fine dorsal pov. Love the perch and the head turn with well defined exposure of the plumage. Super shot against the spotless blue sky. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day. Regards - Jusni

Una imagen "fuerte" ya que el conjunto nos inspira seriedad a la vez que elegancia,
esos ojos tan bien captados son una buena prueba. Tanto la composición como el
equiligrio del conjunto estan bien logrados.
Enhorabuena abuelos :-))

Un abrazo Anna: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2010-10-29 14:52]

Hi Anna,
This is very good capture of this beautiful bird in excellent pose.The Pov,sharpness and colors are perfect.TFs.

Hi Anna,
Very nice close-up of this juvenile martial eagle which by the way looks very similiar to osprey. I have been studying the behavor of the osprey for awhile on and off and hope to get images as nice as yours next year.(Hopefully) :)

Hi Anna,

The branch is helping to frame the scene. The point of view is showing with precision the details and colors of the Martial Eagle. The late afternoon light is enhancing the colors. Have a nice day.


It's so beautiful and a majestic shot of the Martial Eagle, I love the composition (Which is so very African)Congratulations.

Hallo Anna,
a superb capture of this juvenile Martial Eagle taken marvellously in a great posture, very good sharpness, splenid natural colours, very well composed
Best regards

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