African Hawk Eagles

Photo Details: A pair of African Hawk Eagles (Hieraaetus fasciatus) watch for potential prey from their perch on the upper branches of a dead tree, Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.

Camera: Canon EOS 450D (Canon Rebel XSi 12.2MP); Lens: Canon EF 600L F4 USM + 1.4x converter; Focal Length: 840mm; Shutter speed: 1/640; Aperture: f8; ISO: 200.

Additional Info: These handsome raptors, usually seen in pairs, occur in well-developed woodland where there are large trees where they can perch and watch for prey before swooping down. Males are usually less heavily spotted, which suggests that in the above picture, the female is on the left with her male partner on the right.

Although not a large raptor, the African Hawk Eagle is a versatile hunter known for taking large prey in relation to its size. It has been described as “an extremely bold and dashing bird” that hunts after the manner of a Sparrow Hawk, “dashing among trees and surprising its prey, often pursuing and killing it on the ground”. It will also hover at times and can soar to considerable heights. (Ref: Roberts Birds of South Africa, 4th ed).

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