Ugandan Birds: The Bateleur Eagle


The Bateleur (Terathopius Ecaudatus) is the most striking large raptor in Uganda. Its a large jet black and grey short-tailed eagle with bare red face and beak.This bird is common in savanna reserves and game parks. It is often seen soaring with a tilting motion. The Bateleur derived its name from the tilting motion reminiscent of the tightrope walkers.


Characteristics of The Bateleur

  • The adult male Bateleur is stocky headed largely black with extensive bright red facial skin, grey wing coverts and a very short chestnut tail which is usually hidden by wings at rest.
  • The male Bateleur legs are bright red-orange and the back is chestnut in most of them.
  • Some males have a creamy-white or light brown back.
  • The females have an additional grey band across the secondaries.
  • In flight will be able to see the females’ white under wings and in the males you will a broader trailing edge.
  • These birds can fly all day and they have loud explosive vocals yaaaow yaaaow or high pitched wee weeye weeye weeye especially if they are looking for prey.
  • You can find Bateleurs in singles or in pairs.
  • You will hardly find these birds in small groups.
  • Bateleurs are widespread and common in a variety of open grassland and woodland.
  • They feed on carrion, insects, monitor lizards.
  • You will commonly see individual birds over wide areas seeking out carcasses and often times a Bateleur patrols an area if its on a hunting spree.