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Bonelli's Eagle
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Aquila
Species: A. fasciata
Binomial name
Aquila fasciata
(Vieillot, 1822)
Synonyms
  • Hieraaetus fasciatus
In flight.

The Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) is a large bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. It breeds in southern Europe, Africa both north and south of the Sahara Desert and across southern Asia to Indonesia. It is usually a resident breeder which lays 1-3 eggs in a tree or crag nest.

The Bonelli's Eagle is a species of wooded, often hilly, country with some open areas. The African race prefers savannah, forest edges, cultivation, and scrub, provided there are some large trees; this is not a species of very open or densely forested habitats.

This is a small to medium - sized eagle at 55–65 cm in length. The upperparts are dark brown, and the underside is white with dark streaks. The wings are relatively short and rounded. The long tail is grey on top and white below and has a single broad black terminal band. The feet and eyes are yellow.

Juvenile in Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary, India.

Immature birds have deep buff underparts and underwing coverts, and have fine barring on the tail without the terminal band.

The Bonelli's Eagle takes a wide range of live prey, all taken alive. It usually hunts from cover by a quick dash from inside a tree, but it will also catch prey by quartering hill slopes like other eagles, or make a stoop from a soaring position. Most prey is taken on the ground.

This eagle takes large prey items, usually mammals or birds. Mammals up to the size of a hare are regularly taken, and birds up to guineafowl size. The Bonelli's Eagle is usually silent except in display and near the nest. Its fluted klu-kluklu-kluee call is less shrill than that of its near relatives.

Recent DNA research resulted in this species being moved to the genus Aquila from Hieraaetus.

References

  • BirdLife International (2004). Hieraaetus fasciatus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palaearctic lists - Martin Collinson, British Birds vol 99 (June 2006), 306-323
  • Lerner, H. R. L. 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. PDF
  • Helbig AJ, Kocum A, Seibold I & Braun MJ (2005) A multi-gene phylogeny of aquiline eagles (Aves: Accipitriformes) reveals extensive paraphyly at the genus level. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 35(1):147-164 PDF

External links

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