|Aquila||adalberti||EU||Spain, Portugal, also Morocco|
Members of the genus Aquila have long, broad wings and a medium tail. There are currently fourteen species of large predominantly dark-coloured eagles in the genus Aquila. This genus has a worldwide distribution.
Listen to the sound of Spanish Imperial Eagle
[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ACCIPITRIFORMES/Accipitridae/sounds/Spanish Imperial Eagle.mp3]
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||190||cm||wingspan max.:||210||cm|
|size min.:||72||cm||size max.:||83||cm|
|incubation min.:||42||days||incubation max.:||44||days|
|fledging min.:||65||days||fledging max.:||44||days|
The abundance and distribution of rabbits are two of the main factors influencing population density, range and reproductive performance, while a low incidence or absence of irrigated farmland is the best predictor of the eagle’s presence. Nests tend to be located in zones with abrupt relief, far from roads, tracks, towns and powerlines and where access is difficult. However, newly settled and subadult pairs show greater tolerance of human presence. The Spanish Imperial Eagle prefers areas with a Mediterranean climate, relatively hot, dry summers and warm, rainy winters. The breeding territories are regularly dispersed which indicates that neither food resources nor nest-sites are limiting.
Cainism (aggression between siblings) is common in Spanish Imperial Eagles and frequently leads to the death of the youngest chick. The young fledge at 65-78 days old and remain 3-6 weeks in a small area near the nest, dependent on their parents to provide food. Parental negligence and aggression determine the move to independence and the start of juvenile dispersal. Once independent, the juveniles leave the area in which they were reared and make ever-greater dispersal movements.
Video Spanish Imperial Eagle
copyright: Javier Ortas
Breeding birds are found only in Spain, circa 150 pairs. The range includes the Sierras of Guadarrama and Gredos, the plains of the Tajo and Tietar rivers, the central hills of Extremadura, Montes de Toledo, Alcudia valley, Sierra Morena and the Guadalquivir marshes (Doana). In addition there are occasional nesting reports from Salamanca and Malaga.
During the last century the range was considerably reduced. In Morocco it has disappeared as a breeding species, although one pair was found recently (1992) and juveniles are regularly reported, some of them ringed as chicks in Doana National Park. In Portugal it is now very rare, with occasional observations, but no breeding has been recorded in recent years.
In Spain it was a relatively common raptor at the beginning of this century, with a range extending over most of the country where habitat was available (except the Cantabrian mountains and the Pyrenees). The population has declined drastically over the last 80 years, birds having disappeared from central and southern Portugal, northern and eastern Spain and the Penibetic Sierras. It was close to extinction in the 1960s when only 30 pairs were found. Recovery started in the early 1980s at a rate of five new breeding pairs per year up to 1994. The breeding population is monitored annually in the main protected areas which include Thirty-three percent of the breeding territories. The main breeding populations are in Monfrague Natural Park (Caceres), Doana National Park (Huelva) and “Monte del Pardo” (Madrid). The estimated population size has increased annually in Spain since 2000, and the species has recently recolonised Portugal (two pairs). Some of these increases can be attributed to more thorough searches within its range (notably in Andaluca), which is currently split into three subpopulations with relatively little interchange