Program at a Glance
Focal Species: Martial Eagle
Study Area: Kruger National Park, South Africa
About the Program
Martial Eagles are Africa’s largest eagle. They are found in low densities in savannah and thornbush habitats, where they select large trees for nesting. Researchers at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology have established that populations of Martial Eagles have decreased significantly, up to 60% in the last 20 years in South Africa. These declines have also been recorded in large, protected areas. Following this, in 2013, the FitzPatrick Institute and the Endangered Wildlife Trust established a project to monitor Martial Eagles in the Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest protected area, to understand these declines. HawkWatch International has been involved in this long-term collaborative project since 2019. Fieldwork from 2013-2022 has resulted in 10 years of breeding data on the species. In addition, 36 nest cameras were installed to learn more about the diet of this species and what causes breeding failure. Alongside this, we have deployed GPS tags on Martial Eagles to get an insight into habitat requirements and the causes of mortality. Together, this information will contribute to understanding the reasons behind the population decline of this eagle before it is too late.
Total Nesting Attempts Monitored
Tracking Units Deployed
Future of the Program
Our recent work has highlighted how useful GPS tracking data can be in remotely monitoring breeding for this species (Murgatroyd et al. 2023). This method can also vastly reduce financial costs and minimise the carbon footprint involved in research; by reducing the heavy investment of time and travel involved in monitoring the species on the ground. We are hoping to invest more in GPS tracking Martial Eagles in Kruger National Park to enable the continuation of long-term data collection on this species.
Looking for More Information?
Here’s How You Can Help
Sponsor a Transmitter: When you cover the monthly data fees for our transmitters, you’ll receive quarterly updates from our scientists, tracking maps, the opportunity to name your Martial Eagle and more! Click here to sponsor.
Report Colour-Ringed Eagles: Our banded Martial Eagles are often resighted in Kruger National Park. Email us your re-sightings, including the date, time, and location of your sighting.
Read More in Our Publications, Reports, and Comments
Murgatroyd, M., et al. Using GPS tracking to monitor the breeding performance of a low-density raptor improves accuracy, and reduces long-term financial and carbon costs. Royal Society Open Science, vol. 10, no. 8, 2023. Read More.
Contact the Team to Learn More
This program is led by our International team. To learn more, contact Dr. Megan Murgatroyd, Associate Director of African and Asian Programs.
Track the Conservation of an Endangered Species
To conserve Martial Eagles, we need to know where they roost, nest, hunt, and migrate. You can play an active role by sponsoring a transmitter to track their movement and you’ll receive exclusive updates.