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The Black Eagle Breeding Survey

The Black Eagle Breeding Survey

The Black Eagle Breeding Survey

•    Matobo Hills has the highest concentration of black eagles per square kilometre in the world.

•    All eagle species are protected in Zimbabwe.

•    The high number of pairs of black eagles in Matobo allows a realistic ‘replacement rate’ per pair to be determined for this species.

•    March each year – Briefing held for participating volunteer teams. Each team is given a list of allocated black eagle nest sites, and hyrax population census sites.

•    In 2013 – 12 teams will be monitoring 104 known nest sites within 78 territories in approx 620 kms² survey area, and 20 hyrax colony sites.

•    April/May – Teams check all nest sites for occupancy, and if any breeding attempt is being made, ie – mating, nest rebuilding and lining with greenery, incubating. This is the first reporting period.

•    If the first nest within a territory is found to be occupied, other nest sites within the same territory need not be checked.

•    May – Hyrax population census conducted, to try and determine if the eagles’ main prey base is stable.

•    June/July – Teams return to occupied sites and check if a chick present. This is the second reporting period.

•    August/October – Teams check if the chick has successfully fledged. This is the third reporting period.

•    December – Preparation of report on results for publication in BirdLife Zimbabwe journal Honeyguide, and for submission to Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

•    The ‘replacement rate’ of the black eagle is determined by the number of pairs which have attempted to breed and the success rate of these breeding attempts.

•    Teams may visit as frequently as they wish, but three visits are mandatory, as is submission of standard report forms by end of each reporting period.

Read more on Black Eagles from the Zambezi Traveller:
Eagle Survey Hold World Record

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Bulawayo & Matobo Hills

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 12, March 2013)