A new eaglet is the latest addition to Johannesburg’s most famous black eagle family.
Black Eagle Project Roodekrans chairperson Gerald Draper confirmed that an egg hatched at the nest at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort, Gauteng.
“Sugarbush Ridges Coalition rangers managed to get a glimpse of the chick on Sunday. After reporting that an egg had most likely been laid on either 18 or 19 April, we expected hatching to occur in the first few days of June,” Draper said.
According to Draper, this will be the firstborn for mom Makatsa and her new baby daddy, Mahlori, which means “miracle”.
News24 earlier reported that Mahlori had made the gardens his home on 13 July last year. This after the previous male, Thulani, disappeared at the beginning of June, leaving Makatsa alone with a newborn chick.The chick eventually died at the beginning of August last year.
Thulani had been living in the gardens since 1998, while Makatsa has been there since 2016.
Black eagles normally lay two eggs, four days apart, and only one chick ultimately survives after what is known as a “Cain and Abel” struggle, during which the stronger – and in most cases the older – sibling kills the other.
Draper says the eagles’ behaviour is consistent with their normal breeding cycle.
“This is the first time that this particular couple have a chick together, although it is Makatsa’s fourth since moving to the gardens.”Black eagles are typically winter breeders because they tend to nest on open cliffs, which means that they are more prone to suffer from heat than from cold.
“Should all go well over the next three months, the juvenile will possibly fledge in the first week of September if it is a male, or a little later if it is a female.
“Although lockdown regulations curtailing movement are frustrating, the volunteers on the project are ecstatic with the news, and are looking forward to resuming their monitoring duties as soon as possible,” said Draper.