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A Look That Kills | Martial Eagle

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Species: Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

Location: Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Laikipia, Kenya

The martial eagle is Africa's heaviest eagle and among the continent's three largest eagles; along with the crowned eagle and Verreaux's eagle.

It is an impressive apex predator and is capable of killing prey as large as sub-adult Impala. It is also known to take a wide range of potentially dangerous prey including black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, both monitor lizard species, young Nile crocodiles, serval, and the young cubs of big cats including lion!

This extremely bold and pugnacious character when hunting is the source of both its English and scientific names. The English name, martial, comes from 'martial arts' (combat sports). Its scientific name, Polemaetus bellicosus,  literally translates to "aggressive eagle of war". "Polemos" means war/battle, "aetos" means eagle (both in Greek), and "bellicosus" comes from the English word "bellicose", meaning aggressive.