My impression from observations in Kenya is that this bird is fairly widespread and not uncommon. It is also adept at colonizing small patches of woodland and small wooded knolls/hills. It is very much the smaller cousin of African Crowned Eagle from an ecological perspective but is absent from forest interior and large expanses of dense forest, instead making use of smaller fragments and lighter woodland. Therefore, the comment that 8.5% of forest in the species range was lost should not be automatically equated with similar declines in the species because true forest is not the principal habitat of this species. The fragmentation of larger forests may actually benefit this species. One aspect of it’s ecology that may offer it some protection is that it is particularly fond of sloping and rolling terrain which is often less attractive for charcoal production and farming because this is often rocky ground. It also makes use of woodlands comprised partly of exotic plantation species (cypress, eucalypt) and in suburban areas that are wooded it seems to persist without difficulties. In Nairobi, for example, over an area of around 400km2, there may be as many 8+ pairs (=~50km2 per pair though only small portion of this occupied). In other parts of the country I have found this bird in quite small patches of habitat (5km2). It is well conserved in numerous protected areas in Kenya and because it does not forage in agricultural lands it is possibly less persecuted and less vulnerable to secondary poisoning than some other raptors, e.g. Brown Snake Eagle, Long-crested Eagle etc.
While never a particularly common visitor to southern Africa, it appears that in this region this species may well have benefited from the gradual increase in suitable mature stands of exotic trees and the availability of feral pigeons as a food source in some urban areas.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
All comments must follow the rules of usage.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Sign up here to receive email alerts regarding BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums
Thank you for signing up!
Contact the BirdLife Red List Team under redlistteam [at] birdlife [dot] org.