The South African Bird Ringing Unit

Ringing birds around Africa!


Longevity of the Martial Eagle

Dane Paijmans(2014-09-30)

We received an interesting recovery this week of a Martial Eagle which sadly died after being electrocuted by power lines in the Kruger National Park. What makes the recovery so interesting is that the bird is estimated to be a minimum of 27 years old. This age is calculated by the fact that it was initially ringed as an adult (adult plumage is attained between 5-7 years) by Alan Kemp in 1992 as part of an earlier project on the species in the Park. The bird was also electrocuted close to the initial ringing site showing remarkable site fidelity over the last 22 years. This record was sent to us by Rowen van Eeden, a PhD student at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, who is currently trying to identify the cause of the species population decline in the Kruger. If you would like to follow his work, please Click Here.
The photo accompanied by this article is accredited to Rene van der Schyff.
If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.

  Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Accipitriformes
       Family: Accipitridae
             Genus: Polemaetus
  22 years (Roberts 7)
  >27 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Polemaetus bellicosus   G19094
  Common name   Sample size
  Martial Eagle   Ringed: 238      Retrapped: 1
  Recovered: 22 Total: 261

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