Bonelli’s Eagle

The Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) is a large bird of prey that belongs to the family Accipitridae.

It breeds in southern Europe, Africa both north and south of the Sahara Desert and across southern Asia to Indonesia. It is a resident breeder which lays 1-3 eggs in a tree or crag nest.

The Bonelli’s Eagle lives in wooded, often hilly, country with some open areas. The African race prefers savannah, forest edges, cultivation, and scrub, provided there are some large trees. It generally avoids very open or densely forested habitats.

This is a larg eagle at 55-65cm in length. The upperparts are dark brown, and the underside is white with dark streaks. The wings are relatively short and rounded. The tail is long, grey on top and white below and has a single broad black terminal band. The feet and eyes are yellow.

Juveniles have deep buff underparts and underwing coverts, and have fine barring on the tail without the terminal band.

The Bonelli’s Eagle has a varied diet, as long as its prey is taken alive. It usually hunts from cover by a quick dash from inside a tree, but it will also catch prey by quartering hill slopes like other eagles, or make a stoop from a soaring position. Most prey is taken on the ground. Prey includes mammals up to the size of a hare and birds up to the size of a guineafow.

The Bonelli’s Eagle is a silent bird except in display or when near the nest. Its fluted klu-kluklu-kluee call is less shrill than that of its near relatives.

Recent DNA research suggests that this species should be moved to the genus Aquila.