Friday, February 14, 2014

The Outstanding Afican Black Eagle

By Eduardo C. Gonzalez

The Black Eagle lives in the southern part of Africa. It is scientifically called “Aquilla Verrauxil”. You can find these fantastic looking eagles in Southern Zimbabwe and Motobos Hills. The latter has the largest population of these raptors.

The African Black Eagles prefer to stay in rugged mountain terrain that have cliffs, where there are flat shelves of rocks protruding from a cliff, slope or cave. These are their preferred habitats. They also live in dry savanahs,woodlands, deserts and in high rainfall places. They will live in these places as long as there are rocky outcrops, gorges and mountain ranges that will give them good places for building their nests, and there is an overflowing amount of prey.

These Eagles are the best of all the genus Aquilla. They are truly fabulous looking Black Eagles. Aside from their main colors of coal-colored black, they have white backs and what appears to be a letter "V" on their shoulders. They have very good looking feathers, further noticeable when they take flight. They have small heads and lean necks which give them a superb look.

You will notice these qualities when they are perched. They stay in their territories most of the time. These Black Eagles can be seen gliding in pairs. They are loyal to each other and they will mate for life. They will help each other when they hunt for their prey. This is how they catch most of their prey. Ninety percent of their prey consists of small mammals, birds and reptiles.

The African Black Eagles are among the biggest eagles in Southern Africa. They are 90 centimeters long and they will weigh about 4 -5 kilos. When they are in flight, they are absolutely exquisite looking. Watching them soar in the air can leave you breathless. They have yellow feet, ceres and eyebrows. Their legs have feathers that extend to their claws. Their bills and eyes are colored brown. 

Black Eagles are affected by the heat. Their nests are exposed to the heat and they can be seen panting by opening their beaks. Even when there is no sunlight available. their young chicks and eaglets will move over to the shadows of their parents. Black Eagles and their young ones must be able to get liquid from their prey.

At times these eagles have been seen taking a bath in nearby ponds that are situated at the top of waterfalls. They sunbathe by spreading themselves out on the ground or on generally flat rock. They stretch out both of their wings and their tails are fanned. Doing this ensures that mites and parasites are removed from their feathers. The natural waxes on their feathers get heated up. This makes it easier to spread their shafts when trimming their feathers.

African Black Eagles are noisy eagles but they depend more on visual communication. Every observer who has seen them admit that they look splendid, especially when they are flying. They make use of their full capabilities by going around the hilly terrain where they live. They move so smooth while they are up in the sky. They do all sorts of things while in flight. They turn, circle, rise and glide for a long time. They do not usually flap their wings. They have leaf shaped wings that are useful for these raptors when they fly above rocky and mountainous terrain.

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