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The Iberian imperial eagle and its conservation

The Iberian imperial eagle and its conservation –– My animals


The Iberian imperial eagle and its conservation

If any national species is characterized by having a small and threatened population, that is the Iberian imperial eagle (Aquila Adalberti). Its delicate situation is the result of an accumulation of factors that, during the last centuries, have reduced its population to about 130 couples. In fact, it is considered one of the seven most threatened species in the world.

What is the Iberian imperial eagle like?

The imperial eagle is characterized by:

  • Have a wingspan of up to 220 meters.
  • A weight close to three kilos in males and three or four kilograms in females.
  • Have a dark plumage, with light spots on the edges of the wings. For its part, the head has dark yellow hues, and the tail is gray with a black stripe.
Illustration of the Iberian imperial eagle

World distribution of the Iberian imperial eagle

Its distribution is exclusive in the peninsula. In fact, it only breeds in Spain. At the time it was connected to the imperial imperial eagle, distributed throughout Eastern Europe, but today they are separated by Central Europe.

Within the peninsular territory it is located in the mountains and plains of the center, west and southwest: Madrid, Castilla y León, Castilla La Mancha, Extremadura and Andalucía. In Morocco it is still possible that there are some isolated couples.

Ecology and behavior


It feeds on up to 100 different species of vertebrates, with the rabbit as a food base. In Doñana, the common craving in autumn and winter is also very important in your diet. In other latitudes their diet includes coots, ducks, pigeons, magpies and ocellated lizards. Some couples and young people in dispersal can also feed on carrion from cattle.

The absence of a rabbit can mean the failure of the breeding season and even the abandonment of eggs in the nests.


Once the dam is located with its sharp view, the imperial eagle uses its claws to capture her. To hunt on land he has developed short and thick legs with which he catches by surprise among the vegetation or throwing himself at a great distance from the air with his wings unfolded.

Sometimes he practices kleptoparasitism, which involves stealing a piece hunted by another animal, usually another bird of prey.


Like the black vulture, it builds its nests on the treetops and maintains several alternative nests in each territory. Thus, in Doñana they nest in cork oaks, pine trees and eucalyptus; but in the central region they use pines or holm oaks.

Its reproductive cycle lasts about eight months. At the end of December they begin to develop flights and courtship sounds. Then the copulation takes place and, on March, the setting.

Conservation of the Iberian imperial eagle

Since there is awareness of the danger of extinction of the imperial eagle, various efforts have been made to improve its situation. Numerous works and conservation work have been carried out that have culminated in the declaration of protected areas for the species.

Iberian imperial eagle flying
Madrid’s community

More recently, copies marked with transmitters have begun to be followed. This technique has helped us to know that its greatest threats are electrocutions, poaching and poisonings.

Although in the 60s it was possible to stop its regression and increase its breeding population shyly, the current situation is once again at risk. The decline of the species returns, mainly due to the incidence of poisons. If strychnine was the problem before, now any mixture of insecticides, fungicides or other chemicals is poisonous to these birds.

What can we deduce from all this?

The importance and need to establish a recovery plan by autonomous communities that can be a tool that helps prevent its disappearance. They have been writing drafts for several years; Let’s just hope that when they come out it won’t be too late.

Given the importance of the conservation of the bearded vulture, today there are numerous activities aimed at maintaining this bird. Read more “

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