Birding Africa
    Birding tours from Cape Town to Cameroon and Madagascar, with the only African Birding Specialist










    Cape Town Pelagics
    Cape Birding Route
     350 Photo Challenge







Cape Town's Verreaux's Eagle chick has hatched!

Verreaux's Eagle breeding pair: the adult male was most often seen on a steep perch. The female sometimes flew off the nest and joined him. © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen,

Verreaux's Eagle adult on 30 June 2009 on the Cape Peninsula with hatched chick, other egg and dead Rock Hyrax © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen,

Verreaux's Eagle adult on 30 June 2009 on the Cape Peninsula with hatched chick, other egg and dead Rock Hyrax © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen,

Verreaux's Eagle adult soaring near its nest on 30 June 2009 on the Cape Peninsula.
© Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen,

Help find Frodo (he's tagged as Y006)!

19 Dec 2009: Should anyone spot this year's juvenile, Frodo, please contact Lucia Rodrigues immediately on 083 325 8881.

Frodo carries a yellow tag on the top of each wing with black lettering Y006.
Frodo has left the immediate vicinity of the nest cliff below Cape Town's Noordhoek Peak.
It’s likely he has followed the adults further along the mountain chain when they go hunting and not returned to the nest cliff.
In previous years we have seen the young eagle along Brakkloofrand near Glencairn.
The adults frequently follow the mountain chain towards Misty cliffs Scarborough area to hunt.
Alternatively they also follow the mountain chain to Hout Bay.

On 19 Dec 2009 John Yeld had spotted the adult pair with Frodo flying over the old fire lookout hill at Silvermine, overlooking the Noordhoek valley.
On 21 Dec 2009, Lucia Rodrigues found Frodo perched and calling continually on one of the rocky outcrops just west of this hill.
After about an hour he flew off eastwards with one of the adults and mist blocked further views.
On 22 Dec 2009 Lucia spent several hours below this slope but didn't see an any Black Eagles.
Mike Buckham was first to spot Frodo perched on this side of the mountain as far back as the 26th November. This just shows how gradual the movement away from the nest cliff i, notes Lucia Rodrigues

After Frodo hatched...

27 July 2009: One month after it hatched, the chick has grown a lot and its sibling never hatched!
© Deirdre Vrancken,

Frodo has hatched!

Update 30 June 2009: A Verreaux's Eagle pair has nested in the mountains of the Cape Peninsula and their first chick of the year hatched on Monday 30 June 2009.

The adult female remained on the nest most of the time that afternoon, preening, brooding on the remaining egg and feeding herself and the fluffy white chick with a Rock Hyrax.

Meanwhile, the adult male perched high on steep cliffs a few hundred meters away from the nest and flew past several times, when the female sometimes joined him in flight, calling mostly shortly after take-off. On one occassion, he brought a stick to the nest. On another occassion, one of the adults flew away with the dead Rock Hyrax and returned it back to the nest!

Lucia Rodrigues and her team monitor this last breeding pair on the Cape peninsula and alerted Marje Hemp on Sunday 29 June 2009 that the chick was about to hatch and an observer was needed. So Callan and Deirdre went up to observe and record the event with pictures, video and sound recordings.

For more info on raptor research and how to volunteer, please visit the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme on the FitzPatrick Institute and the Cape Bird Club websites.

How you can help

Look out for eagles with tags on the wings, as shown in this picture. Carefully note the tag's number and colour. Also note where and when you saw the eagle and what it was doing.
Then please contact Lucia Rodrigues.

Questions and answers

Lucia Rodrigues replies

Since when have the parent birds been nesting there? How many eaglets have they brought up successfully?
How old are they?
They have been using this particular nest since 2004 and have raised a chick every single year since then. This chick is therefore their sixth consecutive chick. We have no way of knowing how old the eagles are.

How can we help?
We want people to get back to us if they see the tagged juveniles - such as Bladen, Canute and Echo.

What will the new eaglet's name be?
The second chick has probably already hatched, normally about 3 days after the first chick.

What prey items do they feed on apart from dassies?
This particular pair also feeds on Mongoose, Guinea Fowl, pigeon (probably taken from another raptor) and Golden Mole.

Why did one of the adults fly away from the nest with the Rock Hyrax?
Not sure why the female flew off the nest with the dassie and then back on again. Perhaps to feed on it herself away from the nest?
She would not have to do this to protect the prey from the male. On the nest the female reigns supreme. She would simply mantle the prey as witnessed on Sunday when the male flew onto the nest.

Note the shadow of this adult Verreaux's Eagle soaring near its nest on 30 June 2009 on the Cape Peninsula. © Deirdre Vrancken & Callan Cohen,

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

For feedback from our guests, please see our Client Comments. Please also browse our Latest News and Trip Reports.

This website is maintained by Birding Africa.
Copyright © 1997-2012 Birding Africa

Please do not use any text, images or content from this site without permission.
Black Harrier photograph courtesy of Keith Offord.
© Birding Africa

[African Tailorbirding CC (CK2003/020710/23) trading as Birding Africa]
4 Crassula Way, Pinelands 7405, Cape Town, South Africa.


Home and News - Tour Calendar - Trip Reports - Client Comments - Conservation - About Us - Contact Us