The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Verreaux's Eagle

Afrikaans name: Witkruisarend

Verreaux's Eagle

Verreaux's Eagle

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Aquila verreauxii

The Verreaux’s Eagle, which is most often referred to as the Black Eagle, is a bird of prey that generates a lot of excitement when seen by birders and other nature lovers alike!

They are a resident species and can be found over most of South Africa. Their preferred habitat is areas cliffs, gorges, and rocky hills. These are the habitats also enjoyed by dassies, so it is no surprise that dassies are the favourite prey of the Verreaux’s Eagle. They tend to fly fast along these rocky outcrops while keeping a sharp eye to see if it can surprise a dassie or other prey item. They also spend a lot of time perched or soaring high in the sky.

As their more popular name suggests they are predominantly black in colour. They do have a white V-shape on their upper backs and some white on their lower backs. Their feet are yellow. The Verreaux’s Eagle obtains a length of 80 cm or so and a wingspan approaching 2 metres. Males weigh around 3.7 kg while females can weigh up to 5.8 kg.

The Verreaux’s Eagle breeds between April and June. Their very large nest is normally built on a ledge and is re-used each year. The female normally lays 2 eggs which are normally plain white in colour. The male catches food for the chicks but it is the female that feeds them.

References and further reading

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 49

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 60

Wild Issue 14 - Author: - Published: 2011 - Page: 11

Wild Issue 27 - Author: - Published: 2014 - Page: 32

Vanishing Eagles - Author: Philip Burton - Published: 1987 - Page: 90

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 41

The Black Eagle - Author: Valerie Gargett - Published: 1990 - Page: 1

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Published: 1984 - Page: 29

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 52

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 8

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 151

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 16

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 94

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 96

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 78

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 112

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 117

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 95

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 89

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 71

Roberts Bird Guide - Author: Hugh Chittenden - Published: 2007 - Page: 158

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 16

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1995 - Page: 157

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 168

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 168

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 40

Nature in the Balance - Author: Rob Marsh - Published: 1991 - Page: 21

Know your Birds of Prey - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 32

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 76

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 58

Field Guide to Fynbos Fauna - Author: Cliff & Suretha Dorse - Published: 2023 - Page: 140

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 77

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Published: 1989 - Page: 672

Eagle Days - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1973 - Page: 1

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 18

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 47

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 40

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 52

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 16

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 74

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 126

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1985 - Page: 59

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 72

Birds of Prey - A Kinship - Author: H. Von Michaelis - Published: 1987 - Page: 70

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 104

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 12

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 110

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 132

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 132

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 70

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