Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Superior Spanish Imperial Eagles

By: Eduardo C. Gonzalez

The Spanish Imperial Eagles are known scientifically as the Eastern Imperial Eagle. At first they were considered to be a sub species of the Eastern Imperial Eagles. Now, they are considered as a different species.

The lengths of these eagles will reach 78 – 82 centimeters (31 inches to 32 inches). Their wingspans are about 180 – 210 centimeters (71 inches to 82.5 inches). Their weight will reach between 2,500 – 3,500 grams (5.5 lbs - 8 lbs).

Their lifespan is 40 years. These eagles can be seen hovering around the Mediterranean  and also in tracts of low wet lands. They can also be seen in wooded pasture lands in Spain. They stay where there is a population of rabbits and that is why you can spot them in agricultural lands that are about 100 meters (328 ft.) from a farm. These eagles can live there and raise their young ones.

They have been confined to the Iberian Peninsula. Most of the population of the Spanish Imperial Eagles breed in Spain. Some pairs have moved to Portugal. They are considered to be extinct in Morocco and Algeria.

These birds rest for a considerable length of time and they like staying in their own territories. Some birds breed close to the sites of their birthplace. Other Spanish Imperial eagles breed far away from their birth place.

Some 93% of their food consists of rabbits. They also hunt for waterfowls, carrions,  pigeons, hares and reptiles. A study indicated these eagles are sparse in number because in 1974, there were only 50 pairs. In 2010 they increased to 282 pairs, 279 of these pairs live in Spain and 3 pairs were sighted in Portugal.

One of the most severe threats to the lives of these Spanish Imperial Eagles is electrocution. In 2008, some 33 of these eagles died from electrocution. This, despite the work of the government to make the power lines safe.

Poisoning is another cause of death. Sometimes the eagles are poisoned on purpose. At other times they consume poison intended for foxes. At other times humans poison carrion to get  hold of foxes. The Spanish Imperial Eagles eat carrion and they are  poisoned, too.

A study in 1989 – 2004 showed that 91.7% of these eagles' deaths were caused by humans. Some 115 Spanish Imperial Eagles were killed by electrocution, while 74 died from poisoning. Other causes of death are shooting (16 shot dead) and disease (13 cases).

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