Bateleur (Immature) Terathopius ecaudatus
The Bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. Its closest relatives are the snake eagles. It is the only member of the genus Terathopius and may be the origin of the “Zimbabwe bird”, national emblem of Zimbabwe. It is endemic to Africa and small parts of Arabia.
The Bateleur is a colourful species with a very short tail (ecaudatus is Latin for tailless) which, together with its white underwing coverts, makes it unmistakable in flight. The tail is so small the bird’s legs protrude slightly beyond the tail during flight. 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. Less commonly, the mantle may be white. Immature birds are brown with white dappling and have greenish facial skin. It takes them seven or eight years to reach full maturity.
This fine example was photographed on the northern bank of the Crocodile River, near the Crocodile Bridge rest camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa