The Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is one of the largest and most powerful eagles found in Africa.  It is among the largest eagles in Africa, with a wingspan ranging from about 2 to 2.6 meters (6.6 to 8.5 feet).

Martial eagles have dark brown feathers covering most of their body, with lighter brown and white patterns on the wings and underside. They have a pronounced crest on the head. The upper side is dark brown with a white belly with black stripes, the legs are white and end in very large claws. The young bird looks very different from the adult bird.

They inhabit various types of open and wooded habitats, including savannahs, grasslands and open woodlands, throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The Martial Eagle is found in the savannah and thornbush areas of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Somalia and south of the Cape. It is also found in open plains and semi-deserts, but not in forests, although it occasionally breeds in forests on the edge of open country.

Martial Eagles are apex predators and feed mainly on small to medium-sized mammals such as hares, small antelopes and monkeys. They have also been known to prey on birds, reptiles and even large insects. In some areas, birds are an important part of their diet, including guinea fowl, francolins, bustards and poultry. The martial eagle has been reported to prey on birds up to the size of a European stork. In other areas, the diet consists mainly of mammals, especially hyraxes and small antelopes.

Animals the size of an impala calf are preyed upon, as are some monkeys, and occasionally young domestic goats and lambs. Carnivores such as mongooses are sometimes taken, even occasionally serval cats and jackals; also, some snakes and large lizards. It apparently eats whatever is available, with a preference for game birds, hyraxes and poultry. It is not known to eat carrion at all, except possibly dead lambs.

These eagles are highly skilled hunters and often hunt from a perch or while soaring high in the sky. They use their powerful talons to catch and kill their prey.

They build large nests made of sticks in tall trees. They typically lay one to two eggs, and both parents participate in incubating the eggs and raising the chicks. Martial eagles’ nests are invariably built in trees, 20 to 80 feet above the ground, but often in the largest tree in the area, growing on a steep slope or in a ravine where the bird has a good view of the nest

Martial Eagles face threats from habitat loss, persecution by humans, and collisions with power lines. As a result, they are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

In some African cultures, Martial Eagles are regarded as symbols of strength and power.

Overall, the Martial Eagle is an impressive bird of prey, playing a vital role in the ecosystem as a top predator.

However, conservation efforts are crucial to ensure their survival in the wild. Unfortunately, martial eagles face threats such as habitat loss, persecution from humans, and collision with power lines. Conservation efforts are underway to protect these magnificent birds and ensure their survival in the wild.

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