Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The bateleur is a very cool looking eagle found in central to southern Africa, except for the rain forest belt. Natonal Audobon Society's Field Guide to African Wildlife calls it the "world's most attractive raptor." The most striking characteristics are its bright red face (skin, not feathers), base of its bill and legs. The rest of the bateleur is mostly black, except for the balance of the bill which is yellow with a black tip, a very short chestnut-colored tail, gray or brown shoulders and a chestnut-colored back. It constructs a nest in a tree and lays a single egg. It mates for life. "Bateleur" is French for "street performer," because it rocks its wings from side to side when gliding, as if catching its balance like a tight-rope walker. 
Bateleur on nest in Buffalo Springs NR. Photo by Mark Edwards.
It flies most of the day, covering up to 250 square miles, and feeds on hares, dik-diks, guineafowl, bustards, doves, rollers, monitor lizards and insects. We saw one bateleur in Buffalo Springs NR in a nest up in a tall tree. I spotted it flying and our guide maneuvered our Land Cruiser to a good view of it from the side. It appeared to have a chick, but we did not get a good look at it. 
Beautiful red face, yellow bill, red legs just barely visible, chestnut colored tail and grayish-brown shoulders. Photo by Mark Edwards.


  1. Interesting name origin. I wish we could have witnessed this bird in flight! I love the colors.

  2. I was mildly impressed until I read "mates for life". Now I'm a fan.

  3. If you like that, you will love some of the ones coming up: impalas, gazelles, elephants,etc. that have multiple mates and chase off any wanna be's.