The bateleur is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. Its scientific name is Terathopius ecaudatus. Its length is 60 cm. One of the most colorful birds of prey, the Bateleur Eagle can be readily identified by the bare patch of vivid red skin in front of the eyes and around the base of the bill, and by the stunted, orange tail. The Bateleur body and head are predominantly black contrasted with prominent grey shoulders, a chestnut mantle and bright red feet. Its wings are exceptionally long, and colored white on the underside with a black margin along the rear edge. It takes about eight years for the immature bateleur to develop the full adult colouration. When Bateleur agitated, the bateleur will throw its head back and make a raucous schaaaa-aw call.
The Bateleur may spend 80 percent of day in flight covering 500 kilometers in the search of food. Flying relatively low, bateleur scans the ground for signs of food. When it sees its food , it descends in a tight spiral to investigate. It often patrols on roadside for roadkill. It is quite capable of swooping down on live prey or catching birds in flight. when it is not flying , it can be seen perching on branches or standing on the ground with its wings outstretched, absorbing the heat from the sun.
. It construct a robust nest from twigs lined with leaves in the fork of a tree, often near flowing water. A single egg is laid in 52 to 59 days by a female. Once hatched, the young take between 93 and 194 days to fledge.
It eats mammals , from shrews to small antelopes, and birds, from starlings to large hornbills, as well as reptiles, insects and dead fish.
The bateleur’s breeding season varies according to location, occurring from September to May in West Africa, December to August in southern Africa and throughout the year in East Africa.
The bateleur mainly occupies open areas such as grassland and savanna, avoiding areas of dense forest and wetlands, but tolerating sparse woodland. Its closest relatives are the snake, eagles.