Relax and his guests were on a leisurely morning game drive at Shinde when they came across this Bateleur sitting on a dead tree stump near the four pans area. It is not often that one gets to view these magnificent birds of prey at such proximity.
The name Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) means ‘tightrope walker’ in French because of the unbalanced side-to-side rocking movement it makes whilst in flight. As an adult bird, this species is certainly one of the more colourful birds of prey and it can be identified by its grey, black and tawny plumage and bright red face, legs and black beak, the distinguishing feature though is the eagles unbelievably short tail.
The courtship display in breeding season is fascinating to watch; when the pair are soaring along the male will suddenly somersault and dive down towards the female, flashing his vibrant plumage in the process. This will attract the female and the breeding process will begin. The female will usually lay one egg and the pair will use the same nest for consecutive years.
The bateleur mainly feeds on small reptiles and rodents such as snakes, rats, mice and squirrels. It will spend majority of the day flying and its ultra-sharp vision will allow for it to spot prey from a substantial distance.
We are lucky enough to view this beautiful bird in its natural habitat at Shinde!
Blog and images by Relax (professional guide at Shinde)