High in the rugged mountains, where the air is crisp and clear, there soars a bird of prey with a regal and majestic air. This is the Bonelli’s eagle, with its piercing gaze and powerful wingspan. With grace and ease, it glides through the sky, surveying the landscape below with a watchful eye.
|1||Common name||Bonelli’s eagle|
|2||Scientific name||Aquila fasciata|
|3||Colour||Dark brown plumage with white patches on the upper wings and tail|
|4||Average length||60-70 cm|
|5||Average height||70-80 cm|
|6||Type of bird||Raptor|
|7||Found in India in states||Himalayan region, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand|
|8||Habitat||Mountainous regions, cliffs, and rocky outcrops|
It is a medium-sized eagle, measuring around 55-65 cm in length, with a wingspan of approximately 150-170 cm. Despite its relatively modest size, this eagle is a formidable predator, with powerful talons and a sharp, hooked beak that can tear through flesh with ease.
The Bonelli’s eagle has a distinctive appearance, with a dark brown plumage that is flecked with white markings across its wings, tail, and underparts. Its head is a striking pale color, often with a prominent crest of feathers that gives it a regal and imposing look. Its eyes are a deep, piercing brown, surrounded by a ring of yellow skin that adds to its fierce and intimidating appearance.
In flight, the Bonelli’s eagle is a sight to behold, with broad wings that are slightly rounded at the tips, allowing it to maneuver with great speed and agility. Its long, powerful legs are feathered all the way down to the feet, providing insulation against the cold mountain air and helping it to maintain a stable flight pattern.
Habitat and Food
This species tends to prefer rocky terrain, such as mountainous regions, but can also be found in wooded areas and coastal regions.
When it comes to hunting and eating habits, the Bonelli’s eagle is a true carnivore, with a diet that consists primarily of small to medium-sized mammals, birds, and reptiles. Its preferred prey includes rabbits, hares, and squirrels, but it has been known to take down larger animals such as foxes and even young deer.
The Bonelli’s eagle is a skilled hunter, using its powerful talons and sharp beak to capture and kill its prey. It typically hunts from the air, swooping down to grab its target with great speed and agility. Once it has captured its prey, it will often take it back to its perch to consume, using its sharp beak to tear the flesh from the bone.
Nesting and Nurturing
Bonelli’s Eagles typically lay 1-2 eggs per year, with the eggs being laid in the late winter or early spring. The eggs are usually a pale, creamy white with small reddish-brown blotches. The eggs are laid in a well-constructed nest that is made from sticks and lined with softer materials such as grass, leaves, and feathers. The nest is often located high in the trees or on a rocky cliff ledge, providing a safe and secure location for the eggs to hatch.
The eggs are incubated by both parents for approximately 40-45 days before hatching. Once the chicks hatch, they are covered in white down feathers and are entirely dependent on their parents for food and care. The parents take turns hunting and feeding the chicks, regurgitating partially digested food into their mouths. The chicks grow quickly, gaining strength and developing their feathers over the course of several weeks.
As the chicks grow, they become more independent and begin to explore their surroundings. They will eventually leave the nest, but will continue to rely on their parents for food and protection for several more weeks. Once they are fully fledged, they will leave their parents and set out on their own.
The Bonelli’s eagle (Aquila fasciata) is currently listed as a species of Least Concern. This means that it is not currently facing a high risk of extinction, although its populations may still be declining in certain areas due to threats such as habitat loss, persecution, and pollution.
The Bonelli’s eagle is still considered to be a relatively rare species in many parts of its range, and conservation efforts are still necessary to ensure its long-term survival. However, its current status as the Least Concern is a positive sign, and it is important to continue monitoring its populations and addressing threats as needed to maintain this status.