Long-crested eagle project in KwaZulu-Natal.
A Plea from Prof. Colleen Downs.
Long-crested eagles (Lophaetus occipitalis) are considered common raptors in parts of KwaZulu-Natal but relatively little has been documented on aspects of their ecology.
Consequently we initiated a PhD project on long-crested eagles in KwaZulu-Natal at the beginning of 2016 in the School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.
The main focus of the research is to investigate how land-use changes affects habitat use of long-crested eagles, particularly when breeding.
The main study area covers a land use gradient from urban to rural, including Durban, Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal.
We are determining the home range and habitat use of long-crested eagles using GPS transmitters.
We are using camera traps to monitor nests to provide valuable information on the general breeding behaviour of these birds and possibly what they are eating or providing to the their chicks.
We are also collating data on presence of long-crested eagles in the study area and relating it to ecological factors.
Consequently we would be most grateful for any sightings of long-crested eagles, or locations of their nesting trees.