Verreaux's eagle (Aquila verreauxii) is a large African bird of prey. It is also called the black eagle, especially in Southern Africa, leading to potential confusion with the Indian black eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis), which lives in Asia. Verreaux's eagle lives in hilly and mountainous regions of southern and eastern Africa (extending marginally into Chad), and very locally in West Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the southern Middle East. It is one of the most specialized species of accipitrid in the world, with its distribution and life history revolving around its favorite prey species, the rock hyraxes. When hyrax populations decline, the species have been shown to survive with mixed success on other prey, such as small antelopes, game birds, hares, monkeys, and other assorted vertebrates. Despite a high degree of specialization, Verreaux's eagle has, from a conservation standpoint, been faring relatively well in historic times. One population of this species, in the Matobo Hills of Zimbabwe, is arguably the best-studied eagle population in the world, having been subject to continuous detailed study since the late 1950s. Like all eagles, this species belongs to the taxonomic order Accipitriformes (formerly included in Falconiformes) and the family Accipitridae, which may be referred to colloquially as accipitrids or raptors.
The small-bodied Wahlberg's eagle (H. Wahlbergi) has been traditionally considered an Aquila species due to its lack of change from juvenile to adult plumage and brownish color but it is actually genetically aligned to the Hieraaetus lineage. Cassin's hawk-eagle (H. africanus) is also probably closely related to the Hieraaetus group rather than the Spizaetus/Nisaetus "hawk-eagle" group (in which it was previously classified) which is not known to have radiated to Africa.
The African black eagle appeared in this episode as a hunter of Australopithecus young and babies. Although it didn't attack, its mere appearance sent the Australopithecus family group into a panic, during which Lucy had almost lost her baby, though it was saved (and the eagle didn't launch an attack either).
In the episode Saving the Sabre-Tooth, Korrina, watched Verreaux's eagles reside in the Aviary.