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Verreaux's Eagles mob Cape Leopard in the Cederberg Mountains

Once again birders have provided valuable information on Leopard sightings to the Cape Leopard Trust.
Birders spotted another Cape leopard. This time it wasn't mobbed by Pied Crows, but by a Verreaux's Eagle!

A few days after our trip report appeared on our blog, about two American participans on a Birding Africa tour spotting a Cape leopard, we sent a message to CapeBirdnet asking all birders in the Western Cape to be on the lookout for leopards being mobbed by eagles.

Shortly afterwards, Quinton Martins of the The Cape Leopard Trust contacted Birding Africa with this amazing story! He received an e-mail from Charmaine and Derick Oosthuizen saying they were watching a Verreaux's eagles high in the Cederberg Mountains, when it dive-bombed a male leopard (one Quinton knows as Max). Charmaine comments: 'Very special for 2 lovers of birds and nature who only expect to see leopards in the Kruger National Park!' Scroll down to read the full story.

Verreaux's Eagle in the Cederberg Mountains © Derick Oosthuizen
Cape leopard in the Cederberg Mountains © Derick Oosthuizen Verreaux's Eagle mobs Cape Leopard in the Cederberg Mountains © Derick Oosthuizen
Cape Leopard in the Cederberg Mountains  © Derick Oosthuizen
Thanks to Derick & Charmaine's interest in birds, they spotted this Leopard! They watched the Verreaux's Eagle soar, call, and dive down to mob... a rare Cape leopard! All images © Derick Oosthuizen.

Google Earth Map showing where Derick & Charmaine Oosthuizen saw Verreaux's Eagles mob a Cape Leopard. Derick & Charmaine Oosthuizen saw the leopard nearby Driehoek Farm in the Cederberg Mountains. Image © Google Earth.

The Oosthuisen's had been staying at the Algeria camping site, 250 km north of Cape Town, for the weekend. On the morning of 15 May they drove in a South Easterly direction from the camp to do some birding. The weather was cool after a week of rain. At 11h15 about 10 km from Algeria, they were approaching the turnoff to Driehoek Tourist Farm when they noticed a pair of Verreaux's Eagles soaring high in the distance above the peaks. Stopping to look at these magnificent raptors, they heard them calling and spent some time watching them, as they were expecting an aerial display to follow. Suddenly one of the eagles started to dive down, and the next moment it called out loudly again. It was only then that Derick noticed the leopard lying on the rocks in the distance and that it was being 'dive bombed' by the eagle. The eagles continued harassing the leopard, allowing Derick to capture this unusual image of an encounter between eagle and leopard in the Cederberg mountains.

Driehoek is one of several farms in the Cederberg district that has Anatolian shepherd dogs working with their sheep and goats to protect them from leopard, an initiative sponsored by the Cape Leopard Trust after livestock were taken by these opportunistic hunters. The years of working together with farmers in this area are now paying off.

To find out more about how you can help Cape Leopard : visit the Cape Leopard Trust website:, sign up for the newsletter, ‘adopt a spot’, or help sponsor a camera trap – as Birding Africa did.

P.S.: The mountains known as Cederberg are also known as Cedarberg (with an "a"), called after the endangered Clanwilliam Cedar (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), a tree endemic to the area. We have adopted the most commonly used spelling, Cederberg, which is also used on South African maps.

About Birding Africa

Birding Africa is a specialist birding tour company customising tours for both world listers and more relaxed holiday birders.  We combine interests in mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and other natural history aspects and will guide you to Africa's and Madagascar's most diverse birding destinations. Our guides' knowledge of African birds and birding areas is our greatest strength and together we have rediscovered species, shared exciting observations with the birding community and had a fun time exploring our home continent.  We've even written two acclaimed guide books on where to find Southern Africa's and Madagascar's best birds. Birding is more than our passion, it's our lifestyle, and we are dedicated to making professional, best value trips filled with endemic species and unique wildlife experiences. Since 1997, we've run bird watching tours in South Africa and further into Africa for individual birders, small birding groups and top international tour companies. We've run Conservation Tours in association with the African Bird Club and work with and consult for a number of other top international tour companies and the BBC Natural History Unit.

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