Verreaux's Eagle

© Karl Svendsen


Verreaux’s Eagle (Aquila verrauxii)
The previous name was black eagle.


The Verreaux's eagle is a very large raptor, with the female being bigger than the male, the female can be up to 96 cm in length. A female can weigh up to 7 kgs and have a wingspan of 2.3 m.
It is black in colour, with a yellow cere, eye ring and legs. There is a white Y shaped marking above the wings on the back. In flight, it shows a white rump and off white panels on the wings.

Verreaux's Eagle Diet

The Verreaux's eagle feeds primarily on rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis) but will take a wide range of other mammalian prey including monkeys, young baboons, small antelope, squirrels and hares. They have also been witnessed preying on game birds and reptiles.

Verreaux's Eagle Breeding

©Roger de la Harpe
Monogamous, most nest on inaccessible cliffs in a nest made by both birds from sticks. They breed between April and July. They lay 1 or 2 eggs. If 2 eggs are laid, silicide occurs, the process in which the older, first hatched, chick kills the younger sibling, to reduce food completion, leading to only 1 chick surviving. The eggs are incubated by the female for around 40 days. The female is fed by the male while she is incubating the eggs. The chick is fledged after around 12 weeks and is chased out of the area, by the parents, soon afterwards.

Verreaux's Eagle Behaviour

Verreaux's eagles are often seen in pairs, preening, perching and flying together. They will mate outside the breeding season and it is considered as pair bonding.


The Verreaux eagle population is relatively stable throughout Africa, this is possibly due to the inaccessibility and isolation of the terrain where they live.
In South Africa, they are deemed to be vulnerable.

Distribution and Habitat

The Verreaux eagle is found on mountainous and rocky areas with large cliffs. They will only be found where their main prey is found, rock hyraxes.
Found through most of South Africa, but very sparse in the North West Province.