Martial Eagle Facts

Martial Eagle Facts

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The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is the largest eagle in Africa. The martial eagle is a type of bird that belongs to the family of Accipitridae and the class of Aves and the martial eagle lives in open savannahs, thornbush, and open woodlands. They do not prefer hyper-arid deserts or even a closed canopy of forests. They are native to Africa and are found in the Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Martial eagles are solitary birds, and they generally prefer spending their time alone. They are carnivorous predators who are very opportunistic as well. They hunt monkeys, antelopes, lambs, domestic goats, and water birds like storks, herons, and geese. These African birds are incredibly powerful, and this species of eagles have a massive diet and impressive eyesight.

The adult plumage of the martial eagle is tinted with a dark brown color on their upperparts, head, and upper chest, with some lighter coloration at the edges. Young birds have speckles of gray on their plumage, hindneck, pale flight feathers, and crown with distinctive white edges. In southern, eastern, and central Africa, these birds' breeding and mating season starts in February and extends up to November. The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) generally breeds once every two years and a female martial eagle produces one egg at a time.

To know more about this fascinating bird, why not read these interesting facts? You can also read up on the harpy eagle and the crowned eagle.

Martial Eagle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a martial eagle?

The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is a type of bird that belongs to the Accipitridae family.

What class of animal does a martial eagle belong to?

Martial eagles are birds, and they belong to the Accipitridae family and the Aves class.

How many martial eagles are there in the world?

The exact number of martial eagles that exist in the world is not currently known. However, an estimate of these African birds' population is currently around 30,000.

Where does a martial eagle live?

Martial eagles live in open savannahs, thornbush, and open woodlands. They do not choose to live in hyper-arid deserts or even in a closed canopy of forests. Open woodlands and thornbush with the presence of scattered trees are very much their preferred type of habitat. They often build their nests on large trees that are usually found on a hillside or at some elevation. They are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are found in the Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. They are also found sparsely in the Karoo region in South Africa.

What is a martial eagle's habitat?

Martial eagles are adaptable to a variety of habitats, but mostly they prefer open savannahs, thornbush habitats, and open woodlands. They are not often found in a closed canopy of forests or trees, instead choosing open habitats that consist of steppe environments, scrubby woodlands, and savannah environments. Martial eagles are not found in completely cleared and arid regions.

In their habitats, they use power lines to build their nests in trees. Throughout South Africa and Zimbabwe, they are widespread in protected areas and are found at high altitudes at around 9800 ft (3000 m). In some areas of East Africa, from Somaliland to Ethiopia, they are spotted, but only in low densities.

Who do martial eagles live with?

Martial eagles are solitary birds, and they generally prefer being alone. They cannot tolerate the presence of other eagles around them. During their mating season, martial eagles don't want other eagles except their mates to intrude. Generally, these birds stay away from humans and are shy around humans and other animals.

How long does a martial eagle live?

Martial eagles have a long life expectancy. They typically live for around 14 years in the wild, but one martial eagle was banded and recaptured after a remarkable 25 years!

How do they reproduce?

Martial eagles are the largest eagle in Africa. These birds are oviparous, which means that they lay their eggs without any embryonic development within the females' bodies. Martial eagles form monogamous pairs, which means they mate with the same partner throughout their lifetime, and they also make crying calls during breeding rather than performing a mating dance. Females produce around one egg at a time and this egg is incubated for one to two months. After the hatching of eggs, young martial eagles become fully-fledged after a period of 90 to 100 days. The young birds remain in close proximity to their nests and parents for around half a year and these birds are known to reach sexual maturity at the age of four to five years (this is also when they gain their adult plumage). Males generally do not bring food for the incubating females until the eggs hatch. As soon as the eggs hatch, male eagles go out hunting to feed females for the upcoming two months. Juveniles are born without plumage, and they make an attempt at their first flight just three months after hatching.

The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) usually resides on the topmost branch of long trees or pylons that are situated at high altitudes. Their nest is built here using twigs and sticks as well as green leaves. A female restructures and repairs the torn and broken edges of her nest with fresh leaves as the nests are reused again and again, year on year. They build several nests, approximately seven in a particular territory. The Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) starts mating in the dry season. However, the exact time of this breeding season may differ and extend according to the location of the bird. In south, central, and eastern Africa, the breeding season generally starts in February and end in November. The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicose) generally breeds once every two years.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN or the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they come under the Red List category and are an Endangered species.

Martial Eagle Fun Facts

What do martial eagles look like?

The Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is the largest eagle in Africa. Its adult plumage is tinted with a dark brown color on its upperparts, head, and upper chest, and it has some lighter coloration at the edges. They have solid dark-colored martial eagle wing feathers that appear blackish gray or with a brownish-gray tinge. An adult martial eagle's body underparts are patched with blackish-brown spots and white feathers. Male martial eagles are comparatively smaller than females. Both genders have solid yellow-colored eyes, black talons, and large feet. Chicks have speckles of gray on their plumage and hindneck, along with pale flight feathers, and a crown with distinctive white edges. Adult martial eagles have talons that are approximately 2.01 in (51.1 mm) long.

Discover martial eagles facts about their habitat, diet, strength, and significance.

How cute are they?

Even though these eagles are pretty fascinating, with their powerful preying skills they are not exactly friendly or cute. Instead, they are solitary and shy. Despite this, the South African martial eagle makes for adorable pictures for lucky visitors to the Kruger National Park!

How do they communicate?

The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is a solitary bird and is mostly quiet throughout the year. However, during their breeding season, they use calls and cries.

How big is a martial eagle?

The martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) weighs around 4.9-14 lb (2.2-6.5 kg) and the average martial eagle wingspan is about 7 ft 10 in-8 ft 6 in (188-260 cm). They have an average body length of 31-38 in (78-96 cm). The average martial eagle size is around 10 times bigger than the size of warblers, but they are not quite as big as the biggest eagle in the world, Steller's sea eagle.

How fast can a martial eagle fly?

Martial eagles can fly over high altitudes and at an average speed of 142 mph (230 kph). The ultimate martial eagle top speed can reach even higher than their 142 mph (230 kph) average speed! They are also able to fly long distances without flapping their wings, with one martial eagle reported to have flown for five hours, covering 100 miles (161 km) without flapping its wings. Wow!

How much does a martial eagle weigh?

A martial eagle's weight can range from 4.9-14 lb (2.2-6.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

In terms of gender, there are no specific names for male and female martial eagles, and so they are simply collectively known as martial eagles.

What would you call a baby martial eagle?

Young or juvenile martial eagles may be referred to as chicks.

What do they eat?

Martial eagles are carnivorous predators who are very opportunistic as well. Martial eagle prey can be birds, mammals, and reptiles. They hunt monkeys, small antelopes, lambs, domestic goats, and water birds like storks, herons, and geese. Sometimes, the martial eagle even preys on animals who are more dangerous and potentially powerful than them, such as venomous snakes, monitor lizards, jackals, and wild cats. Interestingly, the martial eagle has been found foraging and eating animals weighing up to 77 lb (35 kg)! As they are apex predators, martial eagles are at the top of their food chain, and as such are not eaten by any other animals.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, martial eagles very dangerous as they are opportunistic predators, so they hunt and catch their prey quickly. They are dangerous to humans as other animals.

Would they make a good pet?

No, martial eagles do not make a good pet as they are not social animals and this species prefers living in the wild. They are not domestic animals.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

An adult martial eagle has a massive home range, perhaps thanks to its impressive flight abilities. A pair of adult martial eagles may have a home range of around 150-250 miles (241-402 km).

How strong is a martial eagle?

Martial eagles are considered to be the strongest eagle, they are so strong that they can even break a human's arm!

How good is a martial eagle's eyesight?

Adult martial eagles have incredible eyesight, which is almost four times more powerful than that of humans.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds, including the vulture or the king vulture.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our eagle coloring pages.

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