Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata
(aka Hieraaetus fasciatus)
Bonelli's Eagle, Frango Castello, Crete, November 2002 - click for larger image

Crete and Bhutan

Bonelli's Eagle is a relatively rare raptor found around the Mediterranean and across the Middle East into India and China. Photos 1 and 2 were taken in Crete while photo 3 was taken in Bhutan.

In many areas its population is in decline and there may be as few as 600 pairs left in Europe of which the majority are in Spain while about 50 are to be found in Greece and around 14 of these are in Crete.

Bonelli's Eagle, Frango Castello, Crete, November 2002 - click for larger image It is found from sea-level to about 1500 metres and hunts over most types of drier country. It nests on cliff ledges or in large trees up mountainsides where it build a huge stick nest up to 2 metres in diameter.

It is often seen hunting in pairs as in the first photo. In flight at a distance the combination of a whitish body and dark wings and tail is unique. The leading edge of the wing is white and there is a broad dark band at the tip of the long tail.

Bonelli's Eagle, Lingmethang Road, Mongar, Bhutan, April 2008 - click for larger image Other points to note are only moderate "fingers", the fairly small head and the relatively broad, straight tail with squarish ends which is about the same length as the width of the wings.

It feeds on small to medium-sized birds such as partridge and jackdaw, mammals such as rabbits as well as lizards and other smaller prey.

Franco Andrea Bonelli was an Italian naturalist who lived from 1784 to 1830.

There is additional information on Avibase.

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