Ngoima

Mystery Bird of Central Africa.

Etymology: Possibly Lingala (Bantu) word. PP'hysical description: Eagle-like. Dark brown to black above, lighter below. Hooked beak. Wingspan, 9-13 feet. Large, powerful talons.

Behavior: Eats monkeys and small goats. Nests at the top of tall jungle trees. Habitat: Forests.

Distribution: Republic of the Congo. Significant sighting: Congo political commissioner André Mouelle saw this giant raptor once. Present status: Formerly more common. PP'ossible explanations:

(1) The Martial eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus), Africa's largest eagle, is close in coloration, but its wingspan is just under 7 feet. It prefers open habitats, not forests, and has not been reported in the Republic of the Congo.

(2) The Crowned hawk eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) only has a wingspan of just over 5 feet, but it does prefer forests and dense woodland. It is scarce but found throughout the Congo region.

Source: Roy P. Mackal, A Living Dinosaur? In Search ofMokele-Mbembe (Leiden, the Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1987), pp. 283-287.

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