Wahlberg's Eagle (Aquila wahlbergi). Serengeti National Park. East Africa 2009 © Nora de Angelli / www.noraphotos.com
The Wahlberg's Eagle (Aquila wahlbergi) is a bird of prey. It is about 55–60 cm in length and has a wingspan of 130–160 cm.
Wahlberg's Eagle breeds in most of Africa south of the Sahara. It is a bird of woodland, often near water. It builds a stick nest in the fork of a tree or the crown of a palm tree. The clutch is one or two eggs.
Wahlberg's Eagle is a medium-sized raptor. The plumage is dark brown except for dark streaked grey undersides to the flight feathers, and a barred grey undertail. The head has a small crest, and the legs are yellow.
There is a pale variant which is much lighter brown with whitish, rather than grey undertail and flight feather undersides. Sexes are similar.
In flight, this species is very cross-shaped, with long evenly wide wings, a slim body and long narrow square-ended tail. The wings are held very flat.
Wahlberg's Eagle hunts reptiles, small mammals and birds. The call is a whistled kleeah-kleeah-kleeah.
This bird is named after the Swedish naturalist Johan August Wahlberg.
The large brown eagles are generally a tricky group to identify, but distinctive features of Wahlberg's Eagle include: round nostrils which separates it from Tawny and Steppe Eagles, although the two Spotted Eagles also have round nostrils; some form of a crest is usually visible; the gape only extends at maximum to the middle of the eye, whereas in Lesser Spotted Eagle, it extends to the back of the eye.