Thursday, 12 May 2011

Bonelli's eagle

Aquila fasciata

Photo by René Dumoulin (Oiseaux)

Common name:

Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

This species is found in in scattered populations from southern Europe, in Portugal, Spain and southern France, south to north-west Africa, along the Mediterranean into the Arabian Peninsula and in India and southern China.

This medium-sized eagle is 55-72 cm long and has a wingspan of 142-180 cm. They weigh 1,6-2,4 kg.

The Bonelli's eagle tends to live in warm mountainous regions, nesting on cliff edges and sometimes on trees. Typically, vegetation in these areas is dominated by scrub, but they also use more densely covered areas and almost completely bare areas. They tends to live at low and medium altitudes, but can be found as high as 2.000 m above sea level.

This agile hunters takes its prey either from the ground or in flight. They mostly hunt small to medium-sized mammals and birds, namely rabbits, hares, pigeons, doves and partridges. They also prey on rats, bats, reptiles, ducks, and various other species of birds, ranging from herons to cuckoos.

Bonelli's eagles start laying eggs in January-March. Each year, the pair cooperates in building up to 6 huge nests made of branches and twigs and lined with leaves and feathers. The nests are placed either on a rick wall or on the top of a tall tree, and only 1 nest is used in the end. The female lays 2 white eggs with brown spots, which she incubates alone for 37-40 days while being fed by the male. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 55-70 days after hatching, but continue to be receive food from the parents for another 8 weeks.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population of 10.000 individuals. The population is declining drastically throughout its range owing to over-use of pesticides, habitat degradation, loss of prey species, collision with power lines and persecution by hunters and pigeon fanciers. Although it is considered endangered in Europe, this species is not considered globally threatened at present.

No comments:

Post a Comment