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The Martial Eagle

An Endangered Species

The first bird on the top left in our bird cases starting the series of birds of prey is a Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus).

The specimen, a young female, was shot "by Br. Linus Glorius at the Nyassa in the summer of 1909", according to an old record; today Nyassa is known as Lake Malawi.

The species lives on open and semi-open landscapes in sub-Saharan Africa. The males reach only 76% of the female's size. However, both sexes are so strong they can carry off prey much heavier than their own weight, e.g. little antelopes or monkeys.

The Martial Eagle is an endangered species. It is hunted near settlements because it kills domestic animals such as dogs, goats and young sheep.

Therefore the numbers of this naturally not very common species decrease; the birds nest more than 40 km apart.

In the Museum you can find two more specimens of this rare type of Eagle which are over 100 years old. A female is sitting on the household items case in the Africa Hall, a male is on display in the 1st diorama near the entrance.