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Terathopius ecaudatus

(Photo from Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures)

Common name:
bateleur (en); águia-bailarina (pt); bateleur des savanes (fr); águila volatinera (es); gaukler (de)

Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

This species is found in sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal and southern Mauritania to Sudan and Ethiopia and south to northern Namibia and northern South Africa. They are also found along the Red Sea coast of Yemen and south-western Saudi Arabia.

These birds are 55-70 cm long and have a wingspan of 160-180 cm. They weigh 1,8-2,9 kg.

The bateleur is found in dry savannas, grasslands, woodlands and scrublands, from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

They have a broad diet, including mammals from shrews to small antelopes, birds from starlings to large hornbills, snakes, lizards, frogs, insects and dead fishes.

Bateleurs are monamous, solitary nesters. They can breed all year round and the nest is built mainly by the female, consisting of a thin stick platform lined with green leaves. It is typically placed in the fork of a large leafy tree. The female lays a single egg, which is incubated by both sexes for 52-59 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 90-125 days after hatching, but only become fully independent 1 month later.

IUCN status – NT (Near-Threatened)
This species has an extremely large breeding range, but the global population size is estimated as just 10.000-100.000 individuals. Declines have taken place across much of their range, owing to habitat loss caused by agricultural intensification, and poisoning by poisoned baits and pesticides. The overall rate of decline is difficult to quantify but is suspected to be moderately rapid.

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