Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis)
aka Long-Crested Hawk Eagle

Long-crested Eagles are large, 23" (58cm) birds, albeit small by Eagle standards, that are easily recognised from the diagnostic, long and somewhat floppy crest on top of their heads. They have chocolate brown and black feathers, while bare patches and eyes are yellow. They have white legs. With wings spread open, a white patch is evident on top and lots of white beneath, mixed with brown. Brown bars on the tail and at the ends of the wings. Females are larger than males.

Long-crested Eagles are generally solitary, often seen perched on poles or trees, looking downwards for prey, in open areas of woodland, plains or beside roads, most often near rivers or lakes. A stick nest, lined with leaves, is built in the fork of a tree and one or two eggs laid. Incubation is solely by the female and takes around 40 days, the chicks are fully feathered at a month and fledge after 55 days. The male feeds the female and chicks throughout and both parents feed the young for around two weeks afterwards.

Long-crested Eagles almost exclusively hunt rodents, but on occasion will also take small mammals and reptiles. Less often known to eat small birds, fish and fruit. Unlike many Eagles, they swallow their prey whole.

Long-crested Eagles are commonly seen in Kenya to the west of a line from Lake Turkana, down to the Tana river and below 3000 metres.

Extra Long-crested Eagle Facts
Long-crested Eagles have an unusual, shallow, flapping flight, using straight wings and then glide, using thermals to soar.
They have a screaming call "keeeee" or "keek~keek~keek".

Photographed at Kenya's Nairobi National Park.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, eagle, kenya, long-crested eagle, long-crested hawk eagle, lophaetus occipitalis, wildlife

Long-crested Eagle ~ Looking Down

Long-crested Eagle head portrait, framed by branches.

Long-crested Eagle ~ Looking At You

Long-crested Eagle head and shoilders, framed by tree branches and looking straight to camera.

Long-crested Eagle ~ Taking Flight

Long-crested Eagle, taking flight from an Acacia, wings spread and legs trailing.

Long-crested Eagle ~ Flying

Long-crested Eagle in flight, its wings outstretched and legs dangling behind, showing its long, curved talons.

Long-crested Eagle ~ Perched

Long-crested Eagle, perched on top of an Acacia bush, where they spend much of their time, waiting for prey to pass by.

Long-crested Eagle ~ Taking Off

Long-crested Eagle taking off from Acacia, showing white markings on top of wings and bands on tail.

Long-crested Eagle ~ Leaping

Long-crested Eagle, leaping into flight, clearly showing both top and bottom of wings and their markings.