The Short-tailed Eagle

The Short-tailed Eagle, which was formerly known as the Bateleur, is quite a spectacular sight to see. The word “Bateleur” is French and means “tight-rope walker”. The eagle got its name from its peculiar flight pattern – while in flight it will constantly wobble to keep level because its tail is too short to help it maintain its balance (unlike all other eagles and indeed other bird species). It is this corrective movement that resembles a tight-rope walker using his pole to keep his balance.

These eagles lay only one egg in a nest usually located in a large tree for protection. Interestingly, only 2% of their chicks make it to adulthood! They will reuse the same nest for some years and the male and female stay together for life.

Short-tailed Eagles are amongst the best-known eagles in Africa and are found throughout Africa south of the Sahara.