Scientific Name: Terathopius ecaudatus Afrikaans Name: Stompstertarend / Berghaan Zulu Name: iNgqungqulu
The distribution range of these the most colourful of eagles stretch down into the north and north-east edges of South Africa. They are now found rarely outside of protected areas and are considered ‘Vulnerable’ in the Red Data Book. They hunt mostly mammals, but also scavenge. This renders them, along with vultures, vulnerable to poisoning as they may feed on carcasses laced with toxins. They spend most of their time soaring at low altitudes in a slow rocking motion and can cover as much as 300km daily. Their long, bow-shaped wings turn up at the ends and flank a noticeably short tail. Their legs and feet actually extend past the end of their tail in flight – a clue when trying to identify them. Their full adult plumage is acquired only after 7 or 8 years when they become territorial and loyal to a single partner. Bateleurs are one of the few raptors that ‘allopreen’ (groom each other) and consequently quite like a scratch behind their head.
Dartanian lives in “Eagle Alley” with his partner, a young female called Portia. They can often be seen catching a ray of sun or with the valley breezes on their wings! These eagles hail from the Mpumalanga Province, where they occur in savannah bushveld habitat. Portia (normally in the front tree) has opinions on everything and Dartanian generally minds his own business!