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Questions my Grand children asked me - Which is the smallest Eagle Grandpa?

Updated on May 17, 2016
Social Weaver communial nests
Social Weaver communial nests | Source
More Social Weaver Nests in Kgalagadi-Pygmy Falcon waiting for lunch.
More Social Weaver Nests in Kgalagadi-Pygmy Falcon waiting for lunch. | Source
Secretary Bird
Secretary Bird | Source
Smallest Raptor in Southern Africa
Smallest Raptor in Southern Africa | Source
Osprey-only raptor found in both SA and the USA
Osprey-only raptor found in both SA and the USA | Source
Well disguised in Kgalagadi
Well disguised in Kgalagadi | Source
The biggest Bird-an Ostrich
The biggest Bird-an Ostrich | Source


Which is the smallest Eagle?


If you are not certain about which is the biggest eagle can you tell us which is the smallest one Grandpa? Let me first say that we are rich in eagles, buzzards, harriers, hawks, kites and falcons in South Africa. There are 18 eagles, 6 buzzards and 43 of the others making a total of 67 raptors. If you travel any where in South Africa you will see birds either perched on a telephone post or flying in the sky. These are usually Raptors and they are birds of prey in that they catch food alive. We also have 9 vultures that are scavengers in that they eat mainly dead animals and so act as rubbish removers in the veldt.


To try to work out the smallest eagle is much easier than trying to find the largest one. Yes there are several that are about the same size. The list would include birds like the Tawney Eagle, the Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagle, the Long-crested Eagle, the Ayre's Hawk Eagle, the Booted Eagle and Whalberg's Eagle .As when you try to make the comparisons to what is the largest Eagle you have to decide how you compare them. Do you decide by average length, weight or wingspan? Many are about the same size.

But as for the really smallest raptor it is much, much easier, so let me tell you what that is. Apart from being the smallest it is also a cute little bird.The Pygmy Falcon is only about 19 cm in height and only weighs about 60 gm. That is smaller than a dove and a little bigger than a Robin. To see this little raptor you will have to travel into the dry areas of South Africa known as the Kalahari where they often live near the large clumps of nests of the Social Weavers. They lay their eggs in the nests of some of the weavers found in that area, including the Social Weaver. Their diet is mainly lizards, insects, mice and even small birds. The best place to see a Pygmy Falcon would undoubtedly be the Kgalagadi Game Reserve in the North West part of South Africa. In this very dry part of our country there as many huge communal Weaver nests and these provide a perfect place for these little eagles to find not only food but also a nesting place.


In the USA they have 2 kinds of Vultures and 33 Raptors..The only one found both in the USA and South Africa is the Osprey.


A visit to any of the National Parks that are scattered around South Africa will provide a good selection of these beautiful birds called raptors, as they soar in the sky or watch for prey from trees or telephone poles..



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    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks, they are a delight! Specially theFish Eagles here in South Africa!

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 

      6 years ago from Miller Lake

      Love to watche them as they soar so gracefully through the sky thanks for sharing! take care pam.

    • Johan Smulders profile imageAUTHOR

      Johan Smulders 

      6 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Thanks a lot for your kind words!

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 

      6 years ago

      Wow, what a beautiful birds. My favorite are hawks and falcons but the eagle and raptor play an easy second. Thank you for such wonderful pics and info. Voted up for awesome.

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