Martial Eagle (Immature) Polemaetus bellicosus
The martial eagle is a large eagle found in open and semi-open habitats of sub-Saharan Africa. It is the only member of the genus Polemaetus. It can be found in most of sub-Saharan Africa, wherever food is abundant and the environment favourable. It is never common, but greater population densities do exist in southern Africa, especially in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Generally, these birds are more abundant in protected areas such as Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa, or Etosha National Park in Namibia.
The adult’s plumage consists of dark grey-brown coloration on the upperparts, head and upper chest, with slightly lighter edging to these feathers. The body underparts are white with blackish-brown spotting. The underwing coverts are brown, with pale flight feathers being streaked with black. The female is usually larger and more spotted than the male. The immature is paler above, often whitish on the head and chest, and has less spotted underparts. It reaches adult plumage in its seventh year.
This wonderful specimen was photographed on the Chobe River, near Kasane, northern Botswana, Southern Africa while hunting rodents on the river bank.