Notes on African Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus diet in savanna and forest in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
AbstractOur study reports on contrasts in prey items from African Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus nesting in forest (n = 1) and savanna (n = 2) biomes in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. At least 12 taxa were identified at a forest nest, of which 92.1% were neonate/juvenile. Bovids and procaviids represented 73.7% and 19.6% of the diet, respectively, whilst Samango monkey Cercopithecus albogularis, a common forest species, represented only 1.7% of prey items. Other species made up 5.0% and included a range of species not found in the forest (e.g. Ourebia , Lepus sp. and Ovis capra). At the savanna nests at least four taxa were identified, of which 73.1% of prey items were adult. The majority of prey items were identified as procaviids (87.0%) with 5.6% and 7.4% of prey items represented by C. albogularis/C. pygerythrus and other remains (e.g. Capra hircus and Philantomba monticola), respectively. In South Africa, where total forest area is reduced compared to regions further north, the dietary range of African Crowned Eagles may include a wider diversity of prey from different biomes; feeding generalisation and opportunism may therefore be an important strategy for the maintenance of African Crowned Eagles populations in the region.
Keywords: Crowned Eagle, hyrax, prey diversity, primate, oribi
OSTRICH 2014, 85(1): 85–88