A [collective noun] of eagles in Durban’s western suburbs are thought to be to blame for the death of a Maltese poodle and the disappearance of several kittens in the area. This is obviously very sad for the owner of Buttercup (for it was she what was killed), but is great news for birds everywhere. Not only because it proves that the Crowned Eagles (Stephanoaetus coronatus) is successfully adapting its diet despite human intrusion into its territory, but also because it is adapting its diet (in that area) away from the Hadeda Ibis. And that’s obviously good news for Hadedas.
Those of you who are aware of the size of a Hadeda (they stand up to 85cm tall) will now understand that the Crowned Eagle is a bit of a monster.
It’s not South Africa’s biggest eagle, either. Both the Martial Eagle and the Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle (seen here) are bigger, but anything that has Hadedas as its first diet item of choice is to be
applauded. Feared. Is to be feared. Yes.
There are no Crowned Eagles in Malta, which is probably why the Maltese poodle is so very prolific there. Incidentally, I guess that there are loads of Hadedas as well. I don’t know. I’ve never been, but I suppose that they must be everywhere. Malta is basically a hot lump of rock populated by nasty, yappy, hair-shedding little shits and annoying, honking, drably-plumaged birds. I’m so glad I don’t live there.
Fortunately, there are no Crowned Eagles in Cape Town either, and that means that our beagle is safe in our back garden. From eagles, at least. The hadedas remain an ongoing issue.