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Peter Steyn

Peter Steyn


Peter Steyn’s natural history interests began with butterflies and snakes while still at preparatory school in Cape Town, but he soon switched to birds. At the age of 13 he took his first bird photograph and hasn’t stopped for 55 years, during which time his pictures have appeared in magazines and books world-wide. His 350 popular and scientific publications are mostly illustrated with his own photographs, but his camera has always been used as a research tool, not just for pretty pictures.
After graduating with a BA degree in English and History at the University of Cape Town in 1959, Peter emigrated with his wife and small son to what was then Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and taught for ten years at Falcon College, a school in the Matabeleland bushveld 55 kilometres south of Bulawayo. Here his passion for birds of prey, especially eagles, thrived and he published many scientific studies of this group.
In 1970, at the age of 34, the momentous decision was taken to leave teaching and write and photograph on a professional basis. Residing in Bulawayo within easy reach of the Matobo hills, he continued his studies of many raptor species there, especially the large population of Black (Verreauxs’) Eagles. In 1973 his first book Eagle Days was published, the culmination of 20 years of observation and photography of this magnificent group of raptors. This was followed in 1974 with a popular guide to the birds of Hwange National Park which remained in print for 25 years. Then, in 1982, after long years of research, Birds of Prey of Southern Africa was published; it still remains the definitive reference work on the raptors of the region.
After returning to live in Cape Town in 1977, Peter was able to travel widely, and his African peregrinations now included professional guiding when he joined Wilderness Safaris on one of their earliest safaris in Botswana in 1984.

Independent researcher
P.O. Box 54  
Newlands,    7725  South Africa
Email: peregrine@mweb.co.za

   Research Interests

Conducted extensive studies on most of the eagle species in southern Africa.
Also studied African owl species, especially the Cape Eagle Owl.

Species of Interest: 
  • African Fish-eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Black-breasted Snake-eagle
  • Brown Snake-eagle
  • Crowned Eagle
  • Martial Eagle
  • Long-crested Eagle
  • Ayres's Hawk-eagle
  • African Hawk-eagle
  • Booted Eagle
  • Wahlberg's Eagle
  • Lesser Spotted Eagle
  • Steppe Eagle
  • Tawny Eagle
  • Verreauxs' Eagle



Steyn, P. 1996. Nesting birds: the breeding habits of southern African birds. Fernwood Press, Cape Town, South Africa. 240 pp.

Steyn, P. 1992. Hwange birds: a guide to the common birds of Hwange National Park. Longman Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe. 58 pp.

Steyn, P., and G. Arnott. 1990. Hunters of the African sky. Struik Winchester, Cape Town, South Africa. 96 pp.

Steyn, P. 1984. A delight of owls: African owls observed. Tanager Books, Dover, NH. 159 pp.

Steyn, P. 1973. Eagle days: a study of African eagles at the nest. Sable Press, Sandton, South Africa. 158 pp.

Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa. 309 pp.

Journal and magazine articles:

Steyn, P. 2010. Memories of Val Gargett. Africa - Birds & Birding 15:2-11.

Simmons, R., L. Rodrigues, L. Woodcock, P. Steyn, and A. Jenkins. 2007. City's limits: can Verreaux's Eagles survive urbanisation? Africa -- Birds & Birding 12:42-46.

Steyn, P. 2007. Booted Eagle memories. Africa -- Birds & Birding 12:32-34.

Steyn, P. 2005. Prey of Verreaux's Eagle. Africa--Birds & Birding 10(3):9-10.

Steyn, P. 2005. Hooded Vultures following Wild Dogs. Vulture News 53:30-31.

Steyn, P. 2001. Birds of the hills. Africa--Birds & Birding 6(2): 42-47.

Steyn, P. 2001. Longevity of a Black Eagle's nest. Promerops 16.

Steyn, P. 2001. On the rapacity of Crowned Eagles. Honeyguide 47:94-95.

Steyn, P. 1999. Black magic. Africa--Birds & Birding 4(5): 34-43.

Steyn, P. 1999. Fish eagle. Icon of Africa. Africa--Birds & Birding 4(2): 36-43.

Steyn, P. 1995. Black Sparrowhawks breeding in the Free State. Mirafra 12: 12.

Steyn, P. 1992. Little Sparrowhawk sightings - a world of caution. Promerops 8-9.

Steyn, P. 1992. Gabar Goshawks and colonial spiders. Gabar 7: 21.

Steyn, P. 1992. Pale Chanting-goshawks associating with Rock Monitors. Gabar 7: 68.

Steyn, P. and N. Myburgh. 1992. Notes made at two Secretarybird nests. Birding in Southern Africa 44: 19-21.

Steyn, P. and N. Myburgh. 1992. Observations on the breeding of Pale Chanting-goshawks. Birding in Southern Africa 44: 80-83.

Steyn, P. and N. Myburgh. 1989. Development halted for a Black Harrier. Bokmakierie 41: 15.

Steyn, P. 1988. Observations on the Red-breasted Sparrowhawk. Bokmakierie 40: 66-73.

Steyn, P. 1988. Of pirates and predators. Gabar 3: 101.

Steyn, P. 1987. Martial Eagle kills Woolly-necked Stork. African Wildlife 41: 147.

Steyn, P. 1986. Immature Bateleurs allopreening. African Wildlife 40: 251.

Steyn, P. and J. H. Grobler. 1985. Supplementary observations on the breeding biology of the Booted Eagle in southern Africa. Ostrich 56: 151-156.

Steyn, P. 1984. (Abstract) Biology of southern African raptors: an overview of current knowledge. P. 1 in J.M. Mendelsohn and C.W. Sapsford (eds.), Proceedings of the Second Symposium on African Predatory Birds. Natal Bird Club, Durban, South Africa.

Steyn, P. 1984. Courtship in the African Fish-eagle. African Wildlife 38:117.

Irwin, M. P. S., C. W. Benson, and P. Steyn. 1983. The identification of the Ovambo and Red-breasted Sparrow Hawks in South-central Africa. Honeyguide 28: 44.

Amadon, D. and P. Steyn. 1981. Leslie Brown--some memories. Raptor Research 15: 65-67.

Biggs, H., P. Steyn, and Clinning. 1981. Probable overwintering of Cape breeding Booted Eagles in Namibia. Bokmakierie 33: 2-4.

Steyn, P. and J. H. Grobler. 1981. Breeding biology of the Booted Eagle in South Africa. Ostrich 52: 108-118.

Steyn, P. 1980. Observations on the prey and breeding success of Wahlberg's Eagle. Ostrich 51:56-59.

Steyn, P. 1980. Further observations on the Tawny Eagle. Ostrich 51: 54-55.

Steyn, P. 1980. Notes on the prey and breeding success of the Martial Eagle. Ostrich 51: 115-116.

Steyn, P. 1980. Breeding and food of the Bateleur in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). Ostrich 51: 168-178.

Steyn, P. 1978. Observations on the Long-crested Eagle. Bokmakierie 30:3-10.

Brown, L. H., V. Gargett, and P. Steyn. 1977. Breeding success in some African eagles related to theories about sibling aggression and its effects. Ostrich 48: 65-71.

Mundy, P. J. and P. Steyn. 1977. To breed or not to breed. Bokmakierie 29: 2-7.

Colebrook-Robjent, J. F. R. and P. Steyn. 1975. On the nest and eggs of the Little Sparrowhawk Accipiter minullus. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 95: 142-148.

Steyn, P. 1975. Supplementary notes on the nesting of the Brown Snake-eagle. Ostrich 46: 118.

Steyn, P. 1975. Observations on the African Hawk-eagle. Ostrich 46: 87-105.

Steyn, P. 1973. Observations on the Tawny Eagle. Ostrich 44: 1-22.

Steyn, P. 1973. Notes on the breeding biology of the Wood Owl. Ostrich 44:118-125.

Steyn, P. and D.Y. Barbour. 1973. Observations at a Little-banded Goshawk's nest. Ostrich 44: 140-141.

Brooke, R.K., J.H. Grobler, M.P.S. Irwin, and P. Steyn. 1972. A study of the migratory eagles Aquila nipalensis and A. pomarina (aves: Accipitridae) in southern Africa, with comparative notes on other large raptors. Occasional Papers of the Natural History Museum of Rhodesia, Series B, Natural Sciences 5:61-114.

Steyn, P. 1972. Further observations on the Brown Snake-eagle. Ostrich 43:149-164.

Steyn, P. 1972. African Fish Eagle: a record of breeding success. Ostrich 43:181-183.

Steyn, P. 1972. Some Black Harrier records. Ostrich 43:182-183.

Steyn, P. 1972. The Little Sparrowhawk at home. Bokmakierie 26:12-16.

Steyn, P. 1971. The crepuscular hunting habits of the Blackshouldered Kite. Ostrich 42:158.

Jackson, H.D. and P Steyn. 1968. Bird notes from the Nata Sector of the Makarikari Pan, Botswana. Ostrich 39:3-8.

Steyn, P. 1968. Photographs of a Tawny Eagle. Bokmakierie 20:98-99.

STeyn, P. 1966. Observations on the Black-breasted Snake-eagle Circaëtus pectoralis. Ostrich 37:141-154.

Steyn, P. 1965. Some observations on the Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus (Daudin). Ostrich 36:203-213.

Steyn, P. 1965. A note on the breeding of the African Hobby Falco cuvieri Smith. Ostrich 36: 29-32.

Steyn, P. 1964. Observations on the Brown Snake-eagle Circaetus cinereus. Ostrich 35:22-31.

Steyn, P. 1964. The Crowned Eagle at home. African Wildlife 18:95-101.

Steyn, P. 1962. Observations on Wahlberg's Eagle. Bokmakierie 14:7-14.

Steyn, P. 1960. Observations of the African Fish Eagle. Bokmakierie 12:21-28.

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