At the Walter Sisulu botanical gardens in Roodepoort (Gauteng, South Africa) the female Black Eagle (Verreaux's eagle - Aquila verreauxii), called Emoyeni, laid two eggs on 15 and 19 April 2013. The eagle pair were sighted collecting twigs and leaves to prepare their nest for the expected brood. Emoyeni has bred annually over the past 30 years with the exception of a few odd years. Only the past 30 years are counted since the establishment of the Garden, but some sources claim that these eagles have been residing in this area for more than 40 years.
Usually around February, the eagle pair mate and groom each other whilst tending and preparing their nest. After a 45 to 60 day incubation period two chicks hatch, but only one is likely to make it to adulthood. The other may not even hatch, but if it does, the older chick that hatched first, will poke its younger sibling to death. This is known as the Cain and Abel struggle and it all happens in the presence of the parents who seem to tolerate this behaviour.
In July 2013 however, there was no sign of the old eggs on the nest, and some mating behaviour was observed.
Then, on the 17th August 2013, an egg was spotted in the nest with the second one following on the 19th August. Hopefully now, after a 45 to 60 day incubation period, two chicks will hatch, ensuring another future generation of Black Eagles.
Although this is good news, the hot summer weather can pose a challenge because breeding usually takes place in winter with the eggs hatching in mid-May. The latest batch of eggs, after a 45-day incubation period, will only hatch at the beginning of October, which is mid-summer here in South Africa. But these birds are very adaptable and all this will not hinder them from producing another generation in summer.
The Black Eagles can be viewed from a live feed web link from the wildlife multilink platform of Black Eagle Webcam that documents a multitude of animals through live video.
(Info from Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens Newsletter)