‘Big Sky’ is normally used as a term describing the sky over the vast wide empty space in Montana, United States. As we travelled the Karoo in South Africa this term crossed my mind as well, all the while as I was admiring the arid landscape which stretched on endlessly.
Mit ‘Big Skies’ ist normalerweise der sich unendlich bis zum Horizont erstreckende Himmel über Montana in den USA gemeint. Diese Beschreibung passt jedoch auch ganz gut für die Karoo in Südafrika, ging mir durch den Kopf, während ich bei unserer Durchreise die unendlichen Weiten der ariden Landschaft bewunderte.
Our visit to New Bethesda, a tiny town in a surprisingly fertile valley in the dry vastness of the Great Karoo, boggled our minds as an Swiss compatriot invited us spontaneously to his hand-crafted, outrageous home of architectural excellence.
(Video) In the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we observed a adult Martial Eagle leaving its nest while the juvenile aagle ate its lunch after calling its parent intensively.
In the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we observed an adult Martial Eagle leaving its nest while the juvenile Martial Eagle ate its lunch after calling its parent intensively.
Short Facts about the Martial Eagle
Sub-Saharan Africa, with a reasonable possibility to spot them in protected areas such as Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (where we took this video) or Kruger National Park, South Africa and Etosha National Park, Namibia.
This is the largest eagle in Africa which wingspan can get over 2.5 meters and weight can be slightly over six kilograms.
The martial eagle is one of the world’s most powerful raptors. Their diet consists mainly of birds like francolins, guineafowl, bustards, young ostriches, storks, herons, other waterfowl, hornbills and queleas. Other than that they also like to feed on reptiles like lizards and snakes and mammals like hares, hyraxes (dassies), mongooses, squirrels, rats, genets, foxes, monkeys, young warthogs and small antelopes and just about anything that moves.
The mating season is mainly between November and April. Martial Eagles build their nests in large trees, sometimes up to twenty meters off the ground with sticks. With usually only one egg every two years the reproduction rate is very slow. This is due to the juvenile birds remaining dependent of their parents for a relatively long period of six to twelve months.
The low reproductive rate and its need of large territories make the martial eagle vulnerable in a world where there are not much wild spaces left. Their numbers are severely declining because of shooting and poisoning by farmers, as the raptors are wrongly thought to be a major predatory threat to livestock. Collisions with power-lines and steep sided water reservoirswhere many birds drown, are further reasons that their numbers are dwindling.
Additional protected areas must be developed and programs to educate farmers set in place to preserve the Martial Eagle and other endangered species.