Madagascar fish-eagles, like many raptors, form devoted families.  In fact, they are one of the few raptors known to engage in cooperative breeding.  Females will bond with two or more males, with all of the eagles helping to protect the nest and feed the young.


Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus)

The bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. It is endemic to Africa and small parts of Arabia. The average adult is 55-70 cm long with a 186 cm wingspan. The bateleur is sexually dimorphic; both adults have black plumage, a chestnut mantle and tail, grey shoulders, tawny wing coverts, and red facial skin, bill and legs. The female additionally has tawny secondary wing feathers. Immature birds are brown with white dappling and have greenish facial skin. It takes them seven or eight years to reach full maturity. The bateleur is diurnal, and hunts over a territory of approximately 650 km2 a day. Bateleurs are hunters and scavengers; birds such as pigeons and sangrouse are preferred prey items, although it may attack small mammals and also takes carrion.  Bateleurs pair for life, and will use the same nest for a number of years. Unpaired birds, presumably from a previous clutch, will sometimes help at the nest. In 2009, the bateleur was placed in the Near-Threatened IUCN Red List Category due to loss of habitat, pesticides, capture for international trade and nest disturbance.

photo credits: Sumeet Moghe, Stevie-B, Petra Karstedt, cyrusbulsara