Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata
- Aquila : Latin word aquilus – Dark coloured
- Fasciata : Latin word for “banded” derived from fascia – band
Vernacular Names : Hindi: Morangi, Guj: Samsagar, Ta: Rajali, Te: Kundeli salawa, Mar: Bonelicha Garud
Distribution in India: Widespread Resident.
Description: Size of 65-72 cm. It is a medium-sized eagle with long and broad wings, distinctly protruding head and long square ended tail. Adult male has a pale under body and fore wing, blackish carpals and band along the under wing coverts, greyish underside to flight feathers with diffused dark trailing edges, whitish patch on mantle and a pale greyish tail with broad dark terminal band. Female averages c. 10% larger and has more heavily streaked underparts. Iris is yellow to yellow-orange, cere and feet are yellow.
Habitat: It is found in warm, sunny mountainous or broken terrain, normally with crags and cliffs. Vegetation cover variable, sometimes with forest, but also barren slopes with virtually no vegetation. Sometimes visits flattish open areas, with pastures, cultivation or wetlands.
Food Habits: It medium-sized birds and mammals; adaptable, eating most readily available prey. 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.
Breeding Habits:Breeds in Dec-Jan in India. Nests on cliff ledges, or less often in trees. Nest bulky built of sticks and lined with green leaves. Normally various nests per pair, often close together and even on same cliff face; used alternately. It lays a clutch of 1–2 eggs, laid at intervals of 2–3 days. The incubation period is 37–41 days, mainly by female. The chicks are born altricial and brooded and fed by female. The male brings prey to nest. Chicks fledge in 60–70 days.