The Long-crested eagle

Author: Taiwo Adams

The long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis)

The long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) is a small to medium-sized eagle that lives throughout Africa. It is famous for its distinctive long crest (shorter on females) which gave this eagle its name. It has a conversation status of Least Concern and it inhabits forest edges, agricultural areas, and woodlands. A long-crested eagle in flight mainly displays white feathers on the bottom while on the top the feathers appear black.

It is not uncommon to see the long-crested eagle stay perched when hunting, waiting to swoop down on its prey in the wild. This hunting technique is known as the ‘sit and wait’ method and the diet for this species consists mainly of reptiles and rodents. Other prey includes small birds, arthropods and fish.

Breeding may take place all year round, especially where there are enough abundant food resources with both male and female equally participating in nest building. Where the opportunity arises, old nests may also be reused. The long-crested eagle can be noisy during the breeding season

It faces threats from habitat loss and collision with power lines and vehicles even though nothing suggests a serious population decline.