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Hieraaetus fasciatus

warning Critically Endangered
CR (D1,A2c)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot, Lior Kislev
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

Bonelli’s Eagle is classified as Critically Endangered (CR). This is based on the rate of decline in the number of individual birds (exceeds 80% over three generations) and the extremely small population size (less than 50 mature individuals). According to a quantitative analysis (PVA), the probability of species' extinction is 100% and the average extinction time is 51 years. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Endangered (EN). The change in its status reflects a deterioration in the population trend, which continues to decline and is now dependent on active management that includes nest guarding, along with release of individuals from a captive breeding program (2 – 6 per year).
CR Current Regional Assessment | EN Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs, Mediterranean Cliffs
Presence In Israel Resident
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian, Saharo-Arabian
Landscape Types Mountainous, Cliffs
Vegetation Types Mediterranean Garrigue, Steppe
Vegetation Densities Medium, Low
Nest Locations Cliffs
Diet Types Terrestrial Vertebrates
Foraging Grounds Ground, Aerial
Body Sizes Large (over 1000g)
Threat Factors Nest Harvesting, Electrocution and collision with transmission wires, Human Settlements in Gorges, Hikers and rock climbers, Pesticide Poisoning, Lead Poisoning, Helicopter and aircraft activity in breeding areas, Hunting and trapping

Bonelli’s Eagle is a medium-sized, fast and aggressive eagle. Adult plumage is contrasting – the breast, belly and lower parts are white with black streaking, contrasting with dark brown upper parts, except for a white patch in the center of its back. Immature birds have a more uniform light brown rusty plumage. It resembles hawks in many features – the white streaked plumage, the long legs, yellow eyes, rounded long tail and its habit of hunting doves and other birds in the air.

A very rare resident species in the Golan Heights, eastern Samaria, the Judean Desert and the Negev. The Mediterranean population comprises only a few pairs and in the desert region less than ten pairs remain. It once nested in all the mountainous and cliff areas, from the Upper Galilee to Eilat. The population in northern Israel was seriously affected in the 1960s and 1970s from excessive use of agricultural pesticides, which led to the disappearance of all the pairs that bred in the Galilee, the Carmel and the Judean Mountains. During the 1980s and 1990s, most of the pairs that nested in Samaria were adversely affected by nest robbers, and nesting in the Eilat Mountains ceased as well. Dispersing juveniles are frequently harmed by electrocution on medium-voltage distribution lines.

The major threat to the Bonelli’s Eagle population is electrocution. Every year a number of juvenile eagles are electrocuted in their post fledging dispersal areas.

During recent decades, extensive efforts have been made to preserve the Bonelli’s Eagle population in Israel. All the known nesting sites are continuously monitored, and some of them are guarded against robbers. Moreover, rock climbing and aerial activities in the vicinity of nesting sites is restricted. Efforts have been made to insulate electrical poles in the juvenile dispersal areas. In addition, a number of immature birds from the captive breeding nucleus in the "Hai-Bar Carmel" are released into the wild every year.

Bonelli’s Eagle is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) and its future is completely dependent on specific management actions taken to ensure its preservation. If no solution is found to the electrocution issue, the population in Israel is not viable in the long-term.

It is necessary to minimize the danger to Bonelli’s Eagle from overhead power lines. Until a complete or partial solution to the problem is found, the continuous release of captive bred individuals is essential. At the same time, monitoring and nest guarding actions should be implemented to maximize the population reproductive potential.

  • מירוז, א. והצופה, א. 2014. סיכום סקר קינון עופות דורסים במדבר יהודה. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א. והצופה, א. 2017. על מצב אוכלוסיות העיט הניצי והעיט הזהוב בישראל - סיכום נתונים והיערכות לעתיד. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים, חטיבת מדע.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרומקין, ר., מן ש., 1984 .קנון דורסים בחבל המדברי של ישראל 1984-1980. העזניה גליון 11. הוצאת החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרידמן, ג. 2010. סיכום סקר דורסי יום במחוז צפון. דו"ח עבור רשות הטבע והגנים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • Mendelssohn, H. 1972. The impact of pesticides on bird life in Israel. ICBP 11:75-104.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot, Lior Kislev

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

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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