Apex predators are sensitive to human disturbance and persecution, often becoming the first losses in a declining urban wildlife community. A population of Crowned Eagles (Stephanoaetus coronatus) within eThekwini municipality, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, persists in a green space network called the Durban Metropolitan Open Space System (DMOSS). We used GPS–UHF telemetry to investigate the home range and habitat use of five breeding adult Crowned Eagles for 1 yr. We documented a mean annual home range for four birds of 13 km2 (Minimum Convex Polygon [MCP] 100%), or 6.3 km2 (Kernel Density Estimator [KDE], bandwith HLSCV 95%), equating to small home ranges for this large eagle, compared with other large eagles. Habitat use within home ranges and correlation with DMOSS area underscored the importance of retaining forest patches in the urban mosaic landscape to encourage the persistence of this large raptor. Our study highlighted the importance of planning green space in future city expansion and land development. The spatial and habitat associations of Crowned Eagles may be used to inform urban planners who wish to support biodiverse communities that include apex predators in an urban landscape.
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Vol. 53 • No. 2