This page contains all information about African crowned eagle hunting.
At one time, the genus Stephanoaetus was considered a "specialized offshoot" of the Spizaetus hawk-eagles based on morphological attributes. DNA sequences utilizing one mitochondrial and three nuclear genes indicated the crowned eagle is a sister species to the Asian hawk-eagles, which are now considered a separate genus, Nisaetus, that are not closely related to the neotropical hawk-eagles, which are retained in Spizaetus. However, another recent study, this time of sequences of two mitochondrial and one nuclear genes, did not reveal a close relationship of this eagle to any other accipitrid, including the Nisaetus species, and the genus was found to be genetically highly divergent from other "booted" eagles". In a case of convergent evolution, the much heavier harpy eagle, which is outside of the "booted eagle" group, has a similar skeletal morphology to the crowned eagle. Two less well-known, probably distantly related species, the mountain hawk-eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) and the black-and-chestnut eagle (Spizaetus isidori), have also been found comparable to the crowned eagle. While both are slimmer and smaller, these eagles are also large-bodied, strong-footed offshoots of the evolutionary radiation of forest-dwelling booted eagles, respectively distributed in East Asia and South America. The adult crowned eagle even has somewhat intermediate appearance between these birds, sharing the variable patterning of the mountain hawk-eagle and some of the colouring of the black-and-chestnut. Until possibly up to 1500, another crowned eagle species, the Malagasy crowned eagle (S. mahery) existed. Similar in size and form to the extant crowned eagle, the Malagasy crowned eagle probably filled a similar niche in Madagascar, but was likely to have preyed on lemurs in place of monkeys. Apparently, the Malagasy crowned eagle became extinct due mainly to the loss of prey and habitat change, attributable to early humans on the island. To date, the living crowned eagle has no recognized subspecies. However, Simon Thomsett noted from field experience possible racial differences between crowned eagles in limited woodland habitats in East and South Africa (called by him the "bush eagles"), which have historically been the main populations studied, and those that live in denser West African rainforest, in the central part of the species distribution. The latter population, he noted, appeared smaller but relatively larger footed, seemed chestier in build and appeared to have deeper eyebrows than the bush eagle; behaviorally the rainforest eagles seemed bolder and louder, which is reinforced in other accounts of the species.