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Finding And Photographing Bonelli's Eagle

Eschenbach share some top tips on photographing Bonelli's eagle.

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Finding And Photographing Bonelli's Eagle: Bonellis eagle

Named after the Italian ornithologist Franco Andrea Bonelli, the Bonelli's eagle is an elegant bird and an impressive hunter.

The Bonelli’s eagle is a medium-sized eagle with a wingspan ranging from 145 to175 centimetres and measuring 65 to 72 centimetres in length. Females are always a little bigger and heavier than the males.

Upperparts are dark brown with a big white patch between the wings. In contrast, underparts are white with dark streaks. The strikingly long, black-brown tail shows a broad dark subterminal band. The head is relatively small with a grey-blue beak and a yellow cere. The eyes are golden-yellow, feet are yellow and claws are black.

 

Distribution and habitat

The European distribution area includes southern countries such as Spain where a large part of the population lives, southern Italy, Greece and Turkey. Bonelli's Eagles can also be found in Northwest Africa, throughout India and as far as southeast China.

They live in dry mountainous regions with crags and cliffs for nesting and hunt in bushy areas without forest vegetation.

 

Behaviour

The Bonelli’s eagle is said to combine the speed of the falcon with the skills of the sparrowhawk, the courage of the eagle and the blood-lust of the goshawk. With its slim build and fast flight, it is indeed somewhat similar to a falcon. On the other hand, its hunting style is reminiscent of smaller birds of prey; anyone who has ever seen a sparrowhawk hunting will immediately notice the similarity with the daring flight manoeuvres of the Bonelli's eagle.

This rare eagle hunts diverse prey thanks to its great skills. It mainly feeds on birds (mostly pigeons, ravens and partridges) but also wild rabbits, reptiles and small mammals. It usually looks for prey from a perch and captures birds when they are on the ground but it is also capable of capturing birds in flight and pursuing prey over a long distance.

In the Mediterranean region, the breeding season takes place between February and March. The Bonelli’s eagle nests on crags, sometimes on large trees. The female lays one or two eggs and incubates them for 40 days while the male takes care of feeding her.

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