Beware the Beagle Eagle

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.

2 thoughts on “Beware the Beagle Eagle

  1. My Uncle/Cousin is a falconer. He usually hunts with black sparrowhawks and similarly sized birds. Sever years ago some of his farm staff brough him an eagle chick that had been thrown out of a nest in a tree the staff chopped down. Turns out it was a crowned eagle chick. He raised and now hunts with it. For duiker.
    We saw her in the ‘off season’ when we wasn’t actively hunting her. The claw part on the talon is a bit longer and thicker than a man’s thumb. She isn’t especially friendly (*grumpy bitch* were his words) to anyone but my Uncle. So when we walked up to her large aviary, and she spread her wings and flew at us. Well, lets just say I felt my place on the food chain slip several notches. Absolutely incredible bird. I hope to be in Zim in the hunting season so I can see her being flown.

  2. Tara > Duiker! Big birds, hey? Great story though. Hope you get to see her in action.
    A bit different (but kinda along the same lines – at least in my food chain reaction) was when we saw the Cape Vulture in Plett. (blogged here: It was also wholly subservient to its human “dad”, but didn’t give a toss about anyone else. When he put food down on the ground behind me and it came rushing through me, I cried quite a lot (internally).

    We were lucky enough to see that pair of Verreaux’s Black Eagles at Sanbona – first day we saw one sitting on a distant hill, we mistook it for a man. Different scale.

    “Uncle/Cousin”…? should I ask? 😮

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