Martial Eagles

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.

Program Highlights

Total Nesting Attempts Monitored
Successful Fledglings
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.

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Program Partners

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.

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