The Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) showing its adult plumage. The Bateleur is a colourful species with a very short tail (ecaudatus is Latin for tail-less) which makes it unmistakable in flight. The adult male is 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 in) long with a 175 cm (5.75 ft) wingspan. It weighs about 1.8-2.9 kg (4-6.5 lbs) and the male has black plumage except for the chestnut mantle and tail, grey shoulders, and red facial skin, bill and legs.
The female is similar to the male except that she has grey rather than black secondary flight feathers. Immature birds are brown with white dappling and have greenish, slaty to purple facial skin. It takes them seven or eight years to reach full maturity. The Bateleur is the only eagle to hover regularly. This image was selected for a series of South African phone cards featuring Birds of Prey.
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Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park, Kalahari Gemsbok Park, South Africa,
Joan Ryder Rathband FRPS FPSSA