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Bonelli's Eagle
Aquila fasciata

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Bonelli's Hawk Eagle, Bonelli's Hawk-eagle, Hieraaetus fasciatus, Aquila fasciatus.

Aquila fasciata
click to enlarge
Distribution: Afrotropical/Indomalayan/Palearctic. Iberian Peninsula and northwestern Africa east through southern Europe, Arabia, and southern temperate Asia to northern India, Indochina, and southern CHINA; LESSER SUNDAS; winters south to sub-Saharan Africa, south and southeastern Asia, with stragglers reaching BALI. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. A. f. fasciata: Northwestern Africa and Iberian Peninsula east through Mediterranean, southwestern Asia and Arabia to AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN and INDIA through northern Indochina to southern CHINA; A. f. renschi: LESSER SUNDAS (Sumbawa, Timor, Wetar, Luang, Flores). more....

Taxonomy: Based on a molecular phylogenetic analysis, using DNA sequences of one mitochondrial and three nuclear genes, Helbig et al. (2005) found that both Hieraaetus fasciatus and H. spilogaster are nested within an Aquila clade, and their data indicated that both species are most closely related to A. verreauxii. Using DNA sequences from mitochondrial and nuclear genes, Lerner and Mindell (2005) and Helbig et al. (op cit.) showed that the genus Aquila, as constituted in most phylogenetic treatments, is not monophyletic. They found that Aquila chrysaetos, Spizaetus africanus, Hieraaetus (Aquila) fasciatus, A. verreauxii, A. audax, and A. gurneyi form a closely related clade. The data of Haring et al. (2007), based on sequences of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b gene, also showed that A. africanus clusters with a group that includes A. fasciatus, A. audax, and A. gurneyi. more....

Movements: Partial migrant, with juveniles dispersing from breeding areas (Bildstein 2006). Adults are usually sedentary, but juveniles tend to disperse to areas where there is less competition from territorial pairs. Two nestlings in Spain tagged with satellite transmitters covered daily distances less than 20 km during the initial phase of dispersal (Cadahía et al. 2007). Northern African birds are resident, although there are post-breeding movements, mostly by immatures, outside of the usual breeding range (Thévenot et al. 2003, Isenmann et al. 2005).

Habitat and Habits: In Asia, it breeds in mountains up to 3,000 m, hills, and plains with forest or woodland, cliffs, crags, and gorges, with some moving to lowlands and wetlands in winter (Brazil 2009). In northwestern Africa, it prefers woodlands in rocky and hilly areas, or forests on plains, including eucalyptus plantations and Cork Oak forest (Thévenot et al. 2003). In West Africa, soars less than most raptors (Borrow and Demey 2001), but in other areas it is more often seen soaring. Usually seen in pairs, sometimes singly. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Takes fairly large prey, mostly on the ground, but sometimes in flight. In the Mediterranean region, the species is highly dependent upon rabbits and Red-legged Partridges (Cheylan 1997). Elsewhere, it is known to prey on rats, bats, reptiles, ducks, pigeons, and various other species of birds, ranging from herons to doves and cuckoos (Flint 1984, Carey et al. 2001). more....

Breeding: Builds a stick nest placed on a cliff ledge, tree, or, in some areas, on an electricity pylon. In Morocco, south-facing cliffs are usually chosen, except in semi-desert and desert areas, or a tree (cedar, eucalyptus, Cork Oak), sometimes close to human settlement (Bergier and de Naurois 1985). Nests are used in successive years and may become very large. Clutch size is usually 2 eggs, sometimes only one. The incubation period is 37-40 days, and the nestling period is 55-65 days (Shirihai 1996). more....

Conservation: The western European population, which is mostly in Spain, is regarded as Endangered (Rocamora 1994) and is small and declining (Real and Mañosa 1997, Real et al. 2001). The most important threats to this species in Europe are shooting by hunters and pigeon fanciers, collision with powerlines, disturbance of nests by humans, and the loss of habitat to agriculture, which eliminates nesting sites and prey. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the global population, including adults and non-breeding immatures at the start of the breeding season, at between 10,000 to 100,000 birds. BirdLife International (2009) estimated the number of adults as between 10,000 to 100,000 birds, but noted that the supporting data are poor. The European population was estimated at 800 to 1,100 breeding pairs by BirdLife International (2000) and later at 920 to 1,000 breeding pairs by BirdLife International (2004). more....

Important References: 
Arroyo, B., E. Ferreiro, and V. Garza. 1995. [The Bonelli's Eagle
  (Hieraaetus fasciatus) in Spain; census, distribution, reproduction, and
  conservation]. ICONA, Madrid, Spain. (In Spanish)
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Del Moral, J. 2006. [The Bonelli's Eagle in Spain: population in 2005 and
  census method]. SEO/BirdLife, Madrid, Spain. (In Spanish)
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Helbig, A.J., A. Kocum, I. Seibold, and M.J. Braun. 2005. A multi-gene
  phylogeny of aquiline eagles (Aves: Accipitriformes) reveals extensive
  paraphyly at the genus level. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Lerner, H.R., and D.P. Mindell. 2005. Phylogeny of eagles, Old World
  vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:327-346.
Orta, J. 1994. Bonelli's Eagle. Pp. 198-199 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott,
  and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Riesing, M.J., L. Kruckenhauser, A. Gamauf, and E. Haring. 2003. Molecular
  phylogeny of the genus Buteo (Aves: Accipitridae) based on mitochondrial
  marker sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27:328-342.

Sites of Interest:
Species account, with an emphasis on European populations.
Bonelli's Eagle photos.
Pla de conservació de l'àliga cuabarrada
A webcam for a Bonelli's nest at Parc del Garraf in Spain.
Plan National d'Action pour l'Aigle de Bonelli
National Action Plan for Bonelli's Eagle in France.

Demerdzhiev, Dimitar
Dobrev, Dobromir
Ferrer, Miguel
Jais, Markus
Naoroji, Rishad K.
Olsen, Jerry
Pande, Satish
Soni, Hiren
Torrento Marselles, Josep R.
Zuberogoitia, Iñigo

Last modified: 2/22/2017

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2021

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