This is the "Summary" page of the "Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) Fact Sheet, 2015" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content
sdzglibrarybanner San Diego Zoo Global Library

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) Fact Sheet, 2015   Tags: africa, bateleur, bird, eagle, egg, fact sheet, feather, flight, monogamous, nest, san diego zoo, sdzg  

Terathopius ecaudatus, Bateleur
Last Updated: May 9, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Summary Print Page

Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) Fact Sheet, 2015


Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Global. All rights reserved.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Acciptriformes

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Terathopius

Species: Terathopius ecaudatus (Daudin, 1800) - Bateleur

Body Weight
1.8-3.0 kg (4.0-6.6 lb)

Head-body Length
550-700 mm (21.7-27.6 in)

Tail Length
100-120 mm (4-4.7 in)

Adult plumage
White, chestnut, gray, and black; two color phases

Juvenile plumage
Light, straw brown, or gray-brown on the back

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Sub-Saharan Africa

Open woodland, tree savanna, grasslands, thornbush

IUCN Status
Near Threatened

CITES Appendix
Appendix II

Other Designations
Considered Vulnerable in some African countries

Population in Wild
Not well understood, but 180,000 possible, globally (includes adults and immatures).

Powerful flight; wings held in a deep "V" while soaring, outstretched while gliding. Walk.

Activity Cycle
Diurnal; spend about 80% of their time in flight.

Social Groups
Often solitary, except when breeding and at feeding sites

Diverse diet: hunt mammals (ranging in size from small rodents to small-to-medium sized antelopes), other birds, reptiles, and less frequently, fish and termites. Scavenge on carrion.

Potentially baboons, genets, African wildcats, Tree monitor, other eagles, Giant Eagle Owl, and Ground Hornbills

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity
7-8 years; obtain adult plumage from 7 years old

Incubation Period
About 55 days

Clutch Size
One egg

Birth Weight
Note well known; one egg description states about 110 g

Age at Fledging
Highly variable. First flight at 93-194 days; post-fledging dependence up to 4 months.

In the wild: 20-30 years
In captivity: commonly 30-40 years; can live into their 50s

Feature Facts

  • Name refers to this bird's somersaulting maneuvers during flight
  • Some African cultures associate Bateleurs with seasonal weather changes and divine messangers
  • Acrobatic flight—spin, tumble, roll sideways, rapidly beat wings; aerial displays during courtship flights
  • Greet one another by lifting wings, "bowing," and vocalizing a loud "haow"
  • Varied prey; more surprising prey include catfish, mongoose, porcupine and hedgehog, and poisonous snakes
  • Substantial investment in caring for young; parental care lasts 8-9 months
  • Several other large African birds use abandoned Bateuleur nests
  • Incidental poisoning most significantly contributing to population declines
  • The San Diego Zoo's first Bateleur arrived in 1924

About This Fact Sheet

© 2015 San Diego Zoo Global

How to cite: Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus) Fact Sheet, 2015. c2015. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd].
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to



We wish to thank Dr. Rick Watson and Beau Parks for providing expert content review of this fact sheet.

Dr. Watson studied Bateleur Eagles in South Africa in the 1980s and is among the first to systematically describe the reproduction, ecology, and population dynamics of the species. He has spearheaded research and conservation efforts for a variety of African and Malagasy raptors and currently serves as Vice-President and Director of International Programs for The Peregrine Fund.

Mr. Parks has extensive experience working with raptors and has spent 10 years working with captive birds in zoological facilities. He is currently a Senior Keeper with the San Diego Zoo Avian Prorogation Center.

SDZG Library Links

Our Mission. The Library is dedicated to supporting San Diego Zoo Global’s mission by providing outstanding
information resources and research services to advance knowledge and strengthen our organization’s capacity to save
species worldwide. Our Vision. We will empower San Diego Zoo Global to lead the fight against extinction by serving as
the organization’s information hub and facilitating research of the highest quality.

© 2016 San Diego Zoo Global — All Rights Reserved

Our Family of Sites

  • Zoo logoSan Diego Zoo
  • Park logoSan Diego Zoo Safari Park
  • ICR logoSan Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research
  • SDZ Global logoSan Diego Zoo Global

Loading  Loading...