Finding the most powerful eagle in Africa

Any birder who comes to Africa will know of the Crowned Eagle, Stephanoaetus coronatus.Birding in Kruger Park with Nature Travel BirdingThis mighty bird mainly occurs in our forests in Africa from Senegal to Ethiopia to South Africa. It is often seen soaring high above the canopy calling its characteristic kewick-kewick-kewick call.

With its powerful talons, the Crowned Eagle preys on small antelope and monkeys. Pairs have been documented hunting monkeys cooperatively.

Imagine my excitement when I spotted a juvenile Crowned Eagle along the Sabie River on a recent birding trip in the Kruger National Park with some guests. This was my first sighting in Kruger and the first sighting of the species for our guests on a Nature Travel Birding trip. My heart was pumping and it was amazing to see this normally shy species out in the open for us to admire. We all managed to get cracking views and photos of this amazing bird. It was even more special for one of my guests as he had always wanted to see a Crowned Eagle in the wild. What an exciting and rewarding sighting.

Birding in Kruger Park with Nature Travel Birding
Crowned Eagles are rare in Kruger National Park but are common in the forest plantations just outside the southern part of Kruger.  It is believed that birds looking for territory do wander into Kruger National Park on occasion. Why the birds don’t become resident in the Southern part of the park is a mystery as the habitat along the rivers is perfect and prey availability is high. One theory is the competition and pressure from the other large eagles in Kruger, like Martial, Tawny and Fish Eagles.

The species is near-threatened and it is great to see juveniles looking for territories and setting up territories to breed.

Every birder should experience the joy one gets when looking up into the African sky and seeing a raptor soaring above you. It is a mesmerising site which will stay with you for a long time.

Come and experience the Kruger National Park with us – an amazing adventure awaits! For more info about birding trips or safaris to the Kruger National Park, get in touch with us at

Written by Nature Travel Guide: Marc Cronje

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