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Bonelli's eagle in Spain

Seo/Birdlife made Bonelli's Eagle its Bird of the Year for 2005.
Bonelli's eagle is a classic Mediterranean bird of prey, associated with the mosaic of forests, scrub and farmland typical in eastern Spain . It builds its nest in crags and ravines and hunts over scrubland, pasture and dry farmland. Its population is declining throughout Europe . Just 1000 odd pairs survive in the continent, of which around 750 are in Spain . The strongest populations are in Extremadura, Andalucia , Valencia and Castilla La Mancha, though the bird appears to be in decline everywhere. The most significant decreases in recent years there have been falls in population of more than 50% in Castilla y León, the Basque Country, Navarra, Aragón , Madrid and much of Mediterranean coast. The bird is classified in the recently updated Libro Rojo de las Aves de España.

From SEO here

Number of pairs by region spring 2005


340 (see below)











Castilla y León


Castilla-La Mancha




Comunidad Valenciana






La Rioja








País Vasco


Electrocution on power lines is a big killer (see below). Like the Spanish Imperial Eagle, it is also endangered because of habitat loss ( see 15/08/2006 Bonelli's eagles beat builders (Guardian)) the lack of its favourite prey: the rabbit, and because of illegal poisoning.

The bird gets its name in Spanish ( Águila-azor Perdicera or just Águila Perdicera ) from its taste for partridge (perdiz) which brings it into direct conflict with hunters. In Catalan it is called àliga perdiguera.
Not to be confused (linguistically at least) with the Azor Común (Goshawk).

Distribution around the Mediterrenean. From SEO here.

Seo/Birdlife's bird names a Bird of the Year to call to attention its threatened and precarious situation. Last year's bird was the Great Bustard.

17 October 2005 update: Status of Bonelli's eagle in Andalusia

Latest survey by the Junta de Andalucía puts the number of Bonelli's eagle at between 325 and 343 pairs throughout Andalucia. By provinces the breakdown is: Malaga, 160 individuals (80 pairs); Almería 110 - 120 (55 - 60 pairs); Granada 100 (50); Cádiz 80 - 90 (40-45); Córdoba 72 (36) and Sevilla 28 - 30 (14-15). The population of this threatened rapter is considered stable in Andalusia with some 650 birds.

July 2004 Archive

120 electricity pylons have been altered in Sant Llorenç del Munt and Montseny natural areas. The new design is aimed at saving Bonelli's eagles from electrocution, which is the cause of 65% all Bonelli deaths in Catalonia. It allows the eagles to perch on top of the pylon without danger of being electrocuted.

Some ecologists claim that as many as 30,000 birds belonging to some 40 species are electrocuted every year on Spanish pylons.

And while we're on the subject here's a checklist of the eagles and buzzards present in Spain (from Varela y Varela, 'Aves de España').

Águila Moteada - Aquila clanga - Spotted Eagle
Águila Imperial Ibérica - Aquila adalberti - Spanish Imperial Eagle
Águila Real - Aquila chrysaetos - Golden Eagle
Aguililla Calzada - Hieraaetus pennatus - Booted Eagle
Águila-azor Perdicera - Hieraaetus fasciatus - Bonelli's Eagle
Águila Pescadora - Pandion haliaetus - Osprey
Culebrera Europea - Circaetus gallicus - Short-toed Eagle
Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental - Circus aeruginosus - Marsh Harrier
Aguilucho Pálido - Circus cyaneus - Hen Harrier
Aguilucho Cenizo - Circus pygargus - Montagu's Harrier
Azor Común - Accipiter gentilis - Goshawk
Gavilán Común - Accipiter nisus - Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Busardo Ratonero - Buteo buteo - Common Buzzard
Abejero Europeo - Pernis apivorus - Honey Buzzard

See also News on Birds in Spain

alpine accentor - alpine swift - aquatic warbler - arctic skua -arctic tern - Atlantic puffin - Audouin's gull - avocet - azure-winged magpie

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