Appearance A very large, 28" (70cm) bird, the Bateleur has black plumage, with grey upper wing-coverts. Some Bateleurs have a chestnut back, while others are whitish. The tail is so short, that it appears to have no tail at all. Red faces and legs are identifiers for the Bateleur. Female Bateleurs have a large, grey band in the flight feathers and a broader black edge to the underneath of their wings, which are otherwise white.
Habits The Bateleur is often alone and sometimes in pairs, gliding over open country, hunting.
Diet The Bateleur does hunt small mammals, reptiles and birds, but is often seen eating carrion.
Resident Bateleurs were once common, but are now a threatened species. Still seen in most parts of Kenya, mostly over dry bush.
Extra Facts Bateleur is the French word for acrobat. The name was attributed to this bird, because of the way it tips its wings in flight, for balance, just like a tight-rope walker. Its call is an unmistakable "Yaaargh".
Photographs Photographed in Masai Mara & Olare Orok Conservancy.