Drakensberg Raptors

Introduction to Drakensberg Raptors

The Drakensberg – one of the most significant concentrations of birds and raptors in Africa. Some 300 bird species have been identified in the Drakensberg. These are some 40% of non-marine birds in Southern Africa.

Raptors or birds of prey are large birds. These birds are renowned for there hooked beaks and pronounced talons. They survive in part by eating small animals and carrion.

The following are some of the most notable Drakensberg raptors, the:

  • Firstly, Black Eagle (Verreauxe);
  • Also, Black Harrier;
  • Bearded Vulture (Lammergeyer);
  • Cape Vulture;
  • Jackal Buzzard;
  • Long Crested Eagle; and
  • Rock Kestral

The Lammergeyer and Black Eagle are perhaps the most important Drakensberg Raptors that raptor lovers wish to spot.

Bearded Vulture

The Bearded Vulture or Lammergeyer (“Lamb Catcher”, a false term as Bearded Vultures do not catch lambs) is a rare species in South Africa and is only found in the Drakensberg in this country.

Drakensberg raptor - Bearded Vulture
Drakensberg raptors – Bearded Vulture

An important viewing site for Bearded Vulture is the ‘vulture restaurant’ at Giants Castle:

One of the notable characteristics of the Bearded Vulture is that it is particularly fond of bones and bone marrow. They smash them into small pieces by dropping them from some 100 meters whilst they are in flight.

YouTube has a series of interesting video clips on the Lammergeyer. The following is a useful introduction:

Black Eagle

The Black Eagle is a magnificent Raptor. It has a wingspan of over 1,5 meters! It is found on the rocky slopes and gorges of the Drakensberg. One of the most exciting video clips of the Drakensberg and this bird of prey is “Mountain Rivals”:


Drakensberg Raptors: Black Eagle
Drakensberg Raptors: Black Eagle

The Central Drakensberg has a significant bird park known as Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Centre. This centre has a range of rehabilitated raptors that have been trained to provide brilliant displays of their prowess. Please see https://youtu.be/Wyu_yy3_RQM

The Drakensberg also has a range of specialist bird guides, who can provide a memorable experience of one of the most attractions of this area – its magnificent raptors.

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