Members of the genus Lophaetus are smallish eagles with long, broad wings, and a broad tail. The legs are fully feathered and the talons slender. They have a long crest made up of about half a dozen feathers. They are mostly black, the juveniles being similar. In its proportions and habits it is quite akin to the Buteo family, although it is biologically closer to Spizaetus or Aquila. The genus contains but one species, which lives in Africa.
Immatures can be distinguished from the adult by the whiter tips of the neck feathers, the less prominent crest, and a generally more mottled appearance. The eyes are dark olive-brown, the feet and cere pale ochre-yellow.
Listen to the sound of Long-crested Eagle
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||110||cm||wingspan max.:||120||cm|
|size min.:||53||cm||size max.:||58||cm|
|incubation min.:||40||days||incubation max.:||44||days|
|fledging min.:||53||days||fledging max.:||58||days|
The nest can be built at any height from twenty to sixty feet or more from the ground, in a large leafy tree such as a wild fig, or introduced Eucalyptus. It is often sited in a river valley where large trees may be available. When first built it is, for an eagle, a small structure – about two feet across by a foot deep – made of small sticks, and with a deep central cup about one foot across, lined with green leaves. It is usually in the centre of the nesting tree and well shaded, mostly in a fork of the trunk, but sometimes on a lateral limb. Both sexes take part in nest building and repair, and the same site is used for a number of years, but not generally for as long periods as with some other eagles.
One or two eggs are laid, dull white rounded ovals, with cloudy markings of brown, grey, and lilac and sometimes with a few clear brown spots. The breeding usually takes place in the latter half of the dry season, and in some areas extends into wet periods.
Only the female incubates, and she is fed near the nest by the male. She also leaves the nest to kill for herself at times. During the incubation period the male is often near the nest and roosts in the same tree or in another close by.
In the early fledging period the female remains on or near the nest and the male brings prey to the site. After about three weeks the female brings more prey than the male. The young is fully feathered by about 28 days, and then grows steadily, climbing about on branches of the nest tree from 45 to 50 days and making its first flight at about 55 days. It then moves quickly away from the nest site. The parents continue to feed it for another two weeks or so after it has left the nest.
The Long-crested Eagle usually breeds every year, and generally rears one young per nest, the second egg, when laid, being sometimes addled, or at other times the elder young one probably kills the other.
Video Long-crested Eagle
copyright: Daniel Jimenez