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Aquila pomarina

warning Regionally Extinct

The Lesser Spotted Eagle is classified as Regionally Extinct (RE). It became extinct during the 1950s and since then no breeding attempts were observed. The literature notes that the species that once nested in northern Israel is the Greater Spotted Eagle (Sela 1975, Paz 1986, Shirihai 1996), but a renewed assessment based on global distribution patterns and habitats of Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles, shows that the species that nested in Israel was probably the Lesser Spotted Eagle (Hatsofe 2005). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was not assessed (NA) and instead the Greater Spotted Eagle was classified as Regionally Extinct (RE).
RE Current Regional Assessment | RE Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Habitats Parks & Woodlands, Mediterranean Maquis
Presence In Israel Summer
Breeding In Israel Bred in the past
Migration Types Long Range
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean
Landscape Types Mountainous
Vegetation Types Forest, Mediterranean Maquis, Mediterranean Garrigue, Steppe
Vegetation Densities Medium
Nest Locations Tree
Diet Types Terrestrial Vertebrates, Carrion
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Large (over 1000g)
Threat Factors Pesticide Poisoning, Lead Poisoning, Hunting and trapping

The Lesser Spotted Eagle is a relatively small and dark eagle that nests in forested areas. Its plumage is uniformly brown, its thighs or “boots” are long and narrow and its beak is small compared to other eagles. In flight, it reveals broad rectangular wings, with paler coverts than its flight and tail feathers. It feeds on small mammals that are found in open fields and plains, occasionally near water sources.

About 15 pairs of Lesser Spotted Eagles nested in northern Israel until the 1960s. Most of the nests were on the edges of the Hula Valley, but also in other parts of the Galilee, Mt. Gilboa and Mt. Carmel. An unsuccessful breeding attempt was recorded in Nahal Kziv in 1972 (Sela 1975, Paz 1986, Shirihai 1996).

The chances of Lesser Spotted Eagles returning to breed in Israel naturally are estimated to be low because of Israel’s location relative to the global range of the species (closest breeding is in southern Turkey), its extinction in Syria and Lebanon and the disjunction from Eastern European populations. All of these factors make the species low priority for reintroduction (Hatsofe & Mayrose 2015, Master Plan for Raptor Conservation in Israel ).

  • הצופה, א. 2004. איזה "עיט מנוקד" קינן בישראל במאה ה- 20? העזניה 32, הוצאת טבע והדברים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • סלע, י. 1975. סקר העופות הדורסים 1970–1975. אוניברסיטת תל-אביב: המכון לחקר שמירת הטבע.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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