Europe’s smallest eagle, the booted eagle, otherwise known as the Booted Hawk Eagle, prefers the warmer climes of southern Europe and south central Asia and whilst not threatened globally, its population within Europe is showing signs of decline.
Booted Hawk Eagle
110cm to 132cm
510g to 1.025kg
A repeated and loud medium pitched ‘kli – kli – kli’ is often used in display although the booted eagle is more commonly a silent predator.
Booted Eagle call
Joost van Bruggen, XC430828. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/430828.
Booted Eagle in flight
Whilst larger insects such as locusts form part of the diet, more commonly a variety of birds, reptiles and mammals are selected even up to the size of rabbits. Prey is frequently located whilst the eagle is perched nearby and can be caught from a fast almost vertical swoop from above.
Booted Eagle with prey
The booted eagle breeds in southern Europe, particularly along the Mediterranean coastline including Gibraltar and the Balearic Islands. Then eastwards through Greece and Israel into the Caucuses, Iran and the Middle East and across to the Himalayas. South of the Mediterranean they also breed in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and down into South Africa. During the winter months the majority of the species breeding within Europe migrate into sub-Saharan Africa, southern Asia and the Indian sub-continent.
Booted Eagle from behind
The adult female can be up to twice the size of the male and is thus easy to spot if seen as a pair together. Booted eagles settle in a variety of habitats including open woodlands, semi desert and deserts, mountain areas, open scrubland and grass plains. Rarely seen in areas with other birds of prey and usually solitary or with a mate. They often perch in the tops of dead trees close to their nest whilst scanning the nearby ground for prey. In flight, from above or head on, both morphs can be identified by the distinctive bright white spots on top of the wing at the shoulder.
Nests are usually built of large twigs and sticks lined with leaves and located in trees or occasionally on cliff ledges, although old nests from other species may also be utilised. One clutch averaging two white, green tinted, eggs is laid annually between March to May, dependent upon location and incubated mainly by the female for between thirty six to thirty eight days. Fledging normally occurs approximately fifty four days after hatching and the young may stay with the parents for a further five to seven weeks.
Booted Eagle nest with eggs
A pair of Booted Eagles
The expected lifespan of a booted eagle is up to fifteen years in the wild although there have been examples of ringed birds exceeding twenty years of age.
The Harpy Eagle is one of the most powerful and largest raptors, found throughout the Neotropical realm. Also, known as the Brazilian harpy eagle, or American harpy eagle, the species is monotypic meaning that no sub-species exist. The species has been allotted a “Near Threatened” status by the IUCN, meaning significant steps must be taken to conserve this wonderful bird of prey from extinction.
One of the world’s largest birds of prey, it is also known as Steller’s Fish Eagle, the White Shouldered Eagle and a Pacific Sea Eagle. The bird is monotypic meaning there are no subspecies.
A member of the sub-family of booted eagles due to its feather covered legs and named after the famous Italian ornithologist Franco Andrea Bonelli, the species is considered endangered across Europe but secure elsewhere within its range.
This long distance migrant is named after Colonel George Montagu (1753 – 1815), an Englishman who, upon retirement from the British army, became a renowned naturalist and author of an Alphabetical Synopsis of British Birds, published in 1802. There are 16 species of harrier today, all of which are recognised as elegant, soaring birds of prey of the genus Circus meaning circle.
European Honey Buzzard
The European Honey-Buzzard, which is monotypic, is classified as a bird of prey and is one of six species of Honey-Buzzards from the family Accipitridae, which also includes Kites, Vultures, Harriers, Hawks and Eagles.
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