Birds of Prey Week: Day 3 – Bateleur Eagles

Moving back to the larger birds of prey today. This time it’s another iconic, and very different eagle, which I photographed in the Kruger National Park. Although these birds are generally silent, I was driving along a dirt road; windows open due to the heat, and heard a weird bark-like sound. I slowed and reversed to see these two birds perched on a wonderful old dead tree.

According to that fountain of all knowledge – Wikipedia – “Bateleur” is French for “Street Performer” which included performers such as tight-rope walkers. This name implies the bird’s characteristic habit of rocking its wings from side to side when gliding, as if catching its balance.

Bateleur pairs, mate for life and can often be seen grooming each other, although these two were just content to scan their world around them

Photography tip:

Well, two tips really.

Firstly, the background was horrendously overcast and grey, that boiled cabbage sort of grey. So I knew that it would pay havoc with the camera’s light meter. So, like photographing in snow, I had to fool the meter and manually dialled in +1.5 of exposure compensation. To be fair it still wasn’t really enough, but it got the job done and I could push a little more light in using Lightroom. It is ideal to get the shot right in the field, but sometime that doesn’t happen.

Secondly, I should have taken a few more photos with a shorter lens and got some more of the tree and environment in. Hindsight and all that. Wildlife photography is not all about the close-up and cropped image. Set the context by using a wider angle lens, and tell the story.

"bateleur eagles - marinovich wildlife photography"



Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Falconiformes (or Accipitriformes, q.v.)

Family: Accipitridae

Subfamily: Circaetinae

Genus: Terathopius (Lesson, 1830)

Species: T. ecaudatus



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