The Bateleur occurs throughout the savanna and open woodland regions of Africa south of the Sahara.
In South Africa, the species once graced the skies of the Transkei, the Eastern Cape, the Karoo and the south Western Cape but sightings in these areas are no longer common.
The Bateleur eagle eats carrion, reptiles, and small mammals like rats,
hedgehogs, squirrels or young hares.
When attacking snakes, the bird raises its crest and spreads its wings. This, together with long, scaly legs, ensures that, should the snake strike, it will hit either feather or scales, neither of which will pass venom into the bird’s blood stream.
The voice of the Bateleur eagle is quite distinctive. The most frequent consists of short repeated barks ‘kau-kau-kau’, followed by one or two long shouts of ‘koaagh’. In the wild this call is made while perched. Its scream of anger is completely different.
2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the lowveld wildlife reserves, where the Bateleur probably occurs at maximum density in an ideal habitat, it is quite numerous. Outside of protected areas, the Bateleur is vulnerable to poisoned bait. The birds have been eradicated from virtually all South African farmland due to indiscriminate attempts to control jackal.