Gorges' new chick!

Imvelo Safari Lodges and Wild Zambezi • 30 November 2019

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Imvelo Safari Lodges report on an exciting birding event at their beautiful Gorges Lodge and tented Little Gorges, perched on the edge of the 500-metre-deep Zambezi River gorges downstream of Victoria Falls.

The resident pair of black eagles, (Verreaux’s Eagle), have successfully fledged a chick which will leave the nest at about three months old.  However, the family party will stay together for the next six months, while the youngster learns to hunt with the parents, becoming more independent as time goes on.

Black eagles are territorial, with territories ranging from 10 to 25 square kilometres, in mountainous and rocky habitat where there is plenty of available prey - their main diet being rock hyrax.

They are monogomous, the pair bond probably lasting for many years.  Their display courtship activity involves spectactular feats of soaring, stooping and rolling - an extraordinary sight in magnificent, rocky landscapes. They build their nests on steep, inaccessible cliffs, the newly-hatched chicks being fed by the female on food brought by the male to the nest. Despite this constant care, the first-hatched chick often relentlessly attacks its younger sibling.  This siblicide behaviour is very common - resulting in the death of some 99% of all second chicks.

Looking nothing like its parents, the young eagle will retain its mottled brownish plumage until the end of its sub-adult phase, at around five years.  

Where do the offspring go when they fledge? No-one really knows, but they could range across southern Africa on the lookout for a suitable area with both a population of their own species and available space for a newcomer. 

 Gorges Lodge and Little Gorges offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Victoria Falls town. Well established, landscaped gardens filled with birdlife invite guests to explore the many viewpoints of the gorge – or you can just relax on your balcony with the roar of the Zambezi river coming from far below.

Accommodation at Gorges is stone under thatch chalets, while that at Little Gorges is spacious custom-made tents on teak platforms.

Built on communal land, Gorges Lodge was the first venture of its kind in Zimbabwe, a partnership with the local community, and is still the largest such existing project.  Many villagers from nearby Chisuma work at the lodge – and guests can be reassured they are contributing to a project which is unique and has a hugely positive impact on the people in the Victoria Falls area.


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