The largest eagle in Africa, this bird 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.
Nests are built invariably in trees, at any height from 20 to 80 feet 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.
The bateleur’s (Terathopius ecaudatus) common name comes from the French word for tightrope walker, a reference to side-to-side rocking of its wing tips that occurs during gliding. One of the most colourful birds of prey, the bateleur can be readily identified by the bare patch of vivid red skin in front of the eyes and around the base of the bill, and by the stunted, orange tail. The body and head are predominantly black, contrasted with prominent grey shoulders, a chestnut mantle and bright red feet.