Area. In Europe, the distribution area of the dwarf eagle is open in the Alps: on the one hand, France (except the north, sporadically, mainly in the south), on the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, in the north. Africa - Algeria, Morocco, probably in Tunisia, on the other hand - in the southeast from the Balkan Peninsula to Croatia, Hungary, Zap. Ukraine (Galichina), perhaps by accident to Polesie and Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Grassman, 1918), in the north to Kiev, Chernihiv and Kharkov regions, then to the southern parts of Moscow region. and adjacent parts of the Kaluga region (Borovsky district). Tula region (Novosil), Tambov, Voronezh, in the Crimea (nesting has not been proven), in the Caucasus, in Turkmenistan from the Great Balkhans along the Kopetdag to the valleys of Tejen, Murghab, Amu Darya and Kugitang, in addition, in Syria and Asia Minor, Iran. In the winter in Asia Minor and India, some individuals may already be in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan (Zarudny and Bilkevich, 1918), also in sub-Saharan Africa, where it flies in the central parts of the desert, African winters are located mainly in the eastern parts of the mainland - Niassa , Uzambara, Uganda, rarely in Natal. Pilots to Germany, Italy, northern Bohemia, in the USSR to the Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, on the border with the Kuibyshev region. (Bugulminsky district), in the Novotorzhsky district of the Kalinin region. to Pskov, to Chkalov, to Guryev.
Not all this information is reliable, and the report of nesting in the middle Urals (Sabaneev, 1876) is undoubtedly erroneous.
Nature of the stay. Migratory bird, except for the southernmost parts of the range.
Dates. The arrival of the dwarf eagle falls at the end of March - the first half of April, April 1 - April 19 in Turkmenistan, in the middle of April Bessarabia, to Kiev on April 7, March 22 – April 3, Chernihiv region, March 26 – April 25. Kharkov region. In the fall, flight begins in mid-September and lasts until early October. The flight of individual individuals happens already from the end of August: August 30 - October 2, Kharkiv region, mid-September, Chernihiv, etc. In the spring they fly alone, in the fall sometimes in small flocks.
Habitat. Mixed, but more often deciduous high-stemmed forests, both on the plains and in the mountains, in the Caucasus, up to a height of about 1,500 m and even 1,980 m (Armenia).
Number. In places where old forests have been preserved, the number reaches high density. The nest from the nest is located at a distance of 200 m, 75-100 individuals per 2489 acres (Podolia, Portenko, 1929), 5 nests per 4 km 2. (Kharkov, Somov, 1897). Changes in biotopic conditions cause a rapid decrease in the number of dwarf eagles: in the North. Donets in the Kharkov region on the square, where in 1934 there were 4 occupied nests, in 1936 there was only one residential (Gorlenko and Rudinsky, 1937). This, with the low fecundity of the dwarf eagle, leads to a rapid general decline in the population (as was the case in France, where the range of this bird was significantly reduced in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Maize, 1937).
Breeding. The mating season begins in late April, in April bird pairs, i.e., from arrival. At this time, birds screaming over the forest and making air evolutions, often in the form of dead loops. Nesting sites are small (see above), vigorously defending themselves. Nests are located on trees (allegedly on rocks in Turkmenistan, Radda and Walter, 1889) of different species: pines, oaks, beech, linden, ash, elm, alder, in Turkmenistan on variegated poplars, usually in the upper third of a tree, in European Russia 12-22 meters from the ground, in Turkmenistan and below - up to 4 m. Often, eagles build nests in heron colonies (Uman, Kharkov, Novosil). Usually an eagle uses someone else’s nest - buzzard, kite, spotted eagle, balaban, white-tailed, heron, and sometimes builds its own: in this case both parents participate in the construction of the nest, but the female is more. Building or renewing a nest takes about 2 weeks (Fenenko, 1909).
Construction is 60-70 cm in diameter, with a flat tray. Nests have been used for several years. Clutch usually consists of 2 eggs, sometimes 3 (Zarudny, 1896, Portenko, 1929), laid at intervals of 2-4 days. The color of the eggs is greenish-white, sometimes with few reddish mottles.
Dimensions: (97) 52-64x42.5-48.5, average 56.4x45.6 mm (Goebel, 1879), (7) 53.2-58.4x43-47.2 mm (Gorlenko and Rudinsky, 1937), ( 7) 52.7-61.6x44.2-49.1 mm (Somov, 1897). 53.4-56x43.6-44.7 mm (Kharuzin, 1926). Full masonry May 8-10 (Tula), from late April to mid-May (Kharkov, Somov), in early May (Chernigov, Fenenko). Hatching begins with the first egg, for about a month (Kharuzin), mainly the female sits. At the beginning of June, hatching takes place (on May 31, two down jackets, Bessarabia, around June 10, Tula, in early June Chernigov). Chicks are of different ages. The male carries food to both the hatching female and the chicks, at least as long as they are small. In late July and early August, the chicks are feathered and leave the nest, although they still stay close to it (departure at the end of July in Turkmenistan, July 30, Voronezh, around Tula on August 5-20). The nesting period, therefore, lasts about 9 weeks. Broods stay together at least until the end of August.
Molting. Poorly understood. The hatching female dwarf eagle begins to replace fly-birds, and by the end of the breeding period, the anterior primary fly-birds remain unchanged. The end of molting is not traced (in wintering?). The sequence of change of outfits: the first downy outfit - the second downy outfit - the first annual (nest) outfit - the second annual (final) outfit, etc.
Nutrition. By structure and feeding habits, the dwarf eagle resembles a hawk eagle. His paws are extremely powerful, with long fingers and large claws, a strong and long forearm. The wings are relatively short and narrow, the tail is long. Therefore, the dwarf eagle does an excellent job of chasing quite large prey in the forest and catches even flying birds, flying fast and agile and resembling hawks in this regard. Like the latter, he either rushes to the prey from an ambush, or scares it off, quickly flying among the trees, less often soars like an eagle, looking for prey. Food - various birds of medium and small size - from forest pigeons, doves and magpies to larks, starlings, black-faced shrike, corncrake, forest horse, yellow pliska (Vilkonsky, 1892, Portenko, 1928, Somov, 1897), from gophers and others rodents.
Field signs. A small eagle the size of a buzzard, with a deft flight, is very mobile. The wings are large and rather narrow, the tail is long. The flight is diverse - and soaring, and fast gliding with folded wings. In the mating season, it is very noticeable, both with frequent air games, and because of the often delivered voice, such as the melodic “ki-ki-ki” or “kyu-kyu-kyu”, also a two-syllable “tervy-tervit”. Less cautious than large species of eagles.
Description. The beak is relatively short and steeply bent. Tarsus about 60 mm long, feathered to the fingers. The length of the male is (1) 480, the span is 1210 mm. The wing of males (18) 352-378, females (10) 375-403, an average of 361.2 and 391.5 mm.
Coloring. The first downy outfit of the dwarf eagle is yellowish-white with a bluish rainbow and a pale yellow wax and legs, the second downy outfit is grayish, worn at the age of about 2 weeks. The first annual outfit with a blackish forehead, a light brown nape and a neck with dark trunks, pale brown with wider, lighter borders on the front humeral, large medium wing coverts and huft: dark brown back, humeral and small wing coverts (in some birds part of the last batch is white), fly-black-brown with a grayish pattern on the internal webs, steering black-brown with a weakly pronounced pattern, ventral side or buffy with more or less developed trunk features (light "phase") or dark brown with ocher hue (dark "phase" or variation, the so-called minuta old authors) or, finally, of an intermediate type - ocher with a pale brownish pattern or brown with ocher small rounded spots that form a transverse pattern. Adult birds of light variation (in the second annual and subsequent outfits) are distinguished by a greater differentiation of the pattern of the ventral side - the development of barrels and mottles, as well as the fact that the light "variation" on the belly is white, not ocher. Age-related changes in color, in this way, are negligible. Both floors are painted the same. The beak is bluish at the base, with a blackish top, yellow wax and fingers, black claws, brown iris in young, brownish yellow in adults. The described color variations are quite individual. The tendency to homogamy in birds of the same color variation is not observed - mixed pairs may occur more often than pairs of birds of the same type.
For example, mixed pairs were found in Priazovye (Alferaki, 1910), in the Kharkov region. (Somov), in Podolia (Portenko), in the Tula region. (Kharuzin), in the Voronezh region. The composition of the pairs found in the Tula region is as follows (Kharuzyan, 1926): out of 16 pairs, 9 are mixed, one of them has a light bird and the other has a dark variation, 2 pairs of light birds, 5 pairs of dark birds. In this case, a pair of a dark male and a light female have both dark chicks, and a light pair has one dark chick. The ratio of individuals of light and dark variation is very variable within narrow populations and does not give a picture of a certain geographical localization. Among the studied material from the Caucasus, 50% of light and 50% of dark eagles, from b. Novosilsky Uyezd of Tula Bay. 70% dark and 30% light, in b. Bobrovsky district of Voronezh lips. 25% light, 75% dark, in Turkmenistan 80% dark and 20% light.
Source: Birds of the Soviet Union, t.1. - M .: Owls. the science. 1951.
Origin of view and description
The species was first described by the German botanist I.F. Gmelin in 1788. The Russian name fully justifies the size and proportions of the predator. The species Aquila pennata (Hieraaetus pennatus) belongs to a small subdivision and includes only 2 subspecies: the common eagle-dwarf and the Caucasian eagle. The first is characterized by dark plumage, the second is lighter.
A molecular study of German scientists conducted in the early 2000s showed that all species of the genus Hieraaetus belong to the same monophyletic group. Thus, the Aquila group is considered a common ancestor for all existing species. According to the study, almost all species, which are characterized by small sizes, are required to be part of the central genus Aquila.
Video: Dwarf Eagle
All Slavic bird names come from the pre-Slavic. Those have an Indo-European root. Indo-Europeans attached special significance to the creatures. Latin aquila is associated with the word aqua (water). Because of their name, the birds evoke rather conflicting feelings. In most, the eagle is associated with a large predator, such as a golden eagle or a bald eagle.
The word "dwarf" does not match the appearance of a harsh, dangerous bird. However, do not underestimate the creation. Small size compensate for powerful legs with tenacious claws and a sharp beak. Previously, the species was attributed to the genus of hawk eagles, birds with similar characters, due to unusually narrow wings and a long tail.
Appearance and features
Photo: What does a dwarf eagle look like?
Despite the eagle's appearance, the dwarf's physique is no more than a kite. Females are significantly superior in size to males.
The sizes of adult predators are rather modest:
- length - 47-53 cm
- wing length - 34-36 cm,
- wingspan - 105-130 cm,
- tail length - 17-19 cm,
- weight - 550-1100 g.
The color of females and males is the same. You can meet a light-colored or dark eagle. Light-colored individuals are distinguished by a brown top and a dirty gray bottom. Brown streaks run across the chest. Birds with dark plumage are equally brownish-brown both above and below.
The head is a golden hue, which is characteristic of other species. The tail of the feathered bottom is always light, without transverse stripes. On the paws there are 6 fingers, unlike the buzzard, which has only 5. However, the fingers of the bird are not spread wide apart as much as their relatives.
In flight, the dwarf can be confused with the beehive, they can be distinguished only by the rounded tail. At the beetle, it is circumcised evenly. The heads of individuals of this species are large, the beak is black and short, bent and powerful, the paws are strong, shaggy along the tarsus itself. The flight, like that of other eagles, is smooth, in a straight line.
Fingers are yellow, claws are black. The voice resembles a piercing whistle. During the breeding season, a typical scream is heard. Dwarfs are great flyers. In flight, they gain a fairly high speed. In natural environment, under favorable conditions, birds live up to 25 years, in captivity - up to 30-32 years.
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Where does the dwarf eagle live?
Photo: Dwarf Eagle in Russia
The habitat includes most of Europe - Spain, France, Mongolia, Transbaikalia. They live in South Africa, Central Asia. In a significant part of the range, only migratory birds can be found. Feathered people lead a sedentary lifestyle in India, Pakistan, and the Balearic Islands.
It is found along the Mediterranean Sea in northwestern Africa. The largest populations live on the Iberian Peninsula. Separate accumulations of birds are in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Mongolia, Ukraine, Belarus. In Russia, the range includes the Tambov and Tula regions, Altai Territory, Baikal, Transbaikalia.
Most European dwarfs migrate to Africa - the forest-steppe or savannah. Lonely birds remain in the Middle East, Mallorca, Southern Europe, North America. Populations from the East fly to the Indian subcontinent. Flight through large bodies of water is performed in narrow places. They fly away mainly in September, and return at the end of March.
During nesting, they settle in the steppes and forest-steppes, deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests, not far from open wetlands. They nest on the plain, but more often on hilly, foothill territories with sparse vegetation, at an altitude of up to 3 thousand meters above sea level. An ideal habitat is the arid oak forest located on a hill. If there are no forests near, they settle in areas near clusters of tall trees, near meadows and swamps. For wintering, they go to the same habitats - steppes and forest-steppes, savannahs.
The house is constantly updated with branches with green leaves. Nowadays, a nest is usually built on a trunk of deciduous trees - oak, elm, aspen. Previously, in most cases, the building stood on a pine tree. Sometimes nests can be located at a height of up to 20 meters.
Now you know where the dwarf eagle is found. Let’s see what this bird eats.
What does the dwarf eagle eat?
Photo: Dwarf eagle in nature
These birds have no food preferences. They eat everything that they can catch on the ground or in the air. The small size of the predator does not interfere with hunting for larger animals.
Strong legs, a powerful beak and sharp claws help birds catch fast-moving game, such as:
On the ground or in flight, other birds can become prey to the dwarf eagle:
Predators do not shun ravaging the nests of other birds. They hunt both from an ambush, hiding in the branches of trees, and in flight, looking for prey from above. Seeing the movement, the birds descend to a height of about 20 meters and fall down with a stone. They hit the victim with sharp claws in the neck or head. In arid regions, lizards, snakes, frogs, geckos make up the main food supply.
Interesting fact: They don’t disdain poisonous reptiles: they beat the victim in the head with the exact movement of a sharp beak. But sometimes such a hunt becomes death for birds - a snake manages to bite a dwarf and he loses his sight or dies.
Sometimes, especially in wintering, with a lack of prey, up to 20% of the diet can be insects. Particular preference is given to termites.In the air, eagles manage to catch flying birds. Like congeners, dwarfs are burial grounds and can pick up animal corpses from the ground.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Dwarf Eagle Bird
The birds spend most of their life in flight. Less commonly, they are found sitting on a tree branch located on the outskirts of an open area, inspecting the territory. Creatures do not fly at high altitude so as not to miss the movement of game. Low they soar, only to frighten off and find animals. Southern populations love to hunt from shrubs.
Nests are built when steam forms. They can reconstruct the nests of other birds. Equip the home at a fork in the trunks at a height of 7 meters. The diameter of the dwelling reaches one meter, a depth of about 15 centimeters. For construction, branches and sticks are used, the bottom is lined with dried leaves and grass.
Interesting fact: Eagles are monogamous birds. In warm countries, the couple sets off together and returns together to the same nest. But they spend the wintering separately.
Keen vision allows creatures to see the victim at an altitude of up to 200 meters. In general, the eyes of a predator are so arranged that if he sees a color picture, he will perceive it as millions of colorful dots, and not as an integral photograph. Birds can combine images from two eyes into one stereoscopic.
Predators easily maneuver between the dense crowns of trees, managing not to touch a single branch. After hunting, the victim usually eats immediately. The exception is when it is necessary to feed offspring. After lunch, dwarfs drink a lot of water, and after carefully clean their feathers. Food can be stored in feathered goiter for several days. This makes it possible not to hunt every day.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Male and female dwarf eagle
During the formation of a pair of birds perform mating dances. The male begins, soaring up to a height of 800 meters. He drops exponentially and soars again. Sometimes performs a dead loop. At the end of the mating season, the female joins and the couple flies together. Immediately after this, the construction of the nest begins.
Interesting fact: In addition to the concept of "swan fidelity" there is also "eagle fidelity." If suddenly one of the partners dies, the second waits for one season, after which he attempts to find a partner and create a new family.
Eagles do not hide their presence at nesting sites. They scream loudly or emit vibrations like “chiii-di”. In mid-spring, the female lays and hatches 1-3 eggs of white, yellow or green color, in brown speck. After 36-39 days, chicks of different ages appear. The kids are covered with white and yellow fluff, waxen and paws are light yellow, the iris is blue.
The first days the mother is always with the offspring, heats the eagles, the father takes care of the food. By the second half of July, all the babies are feathered. After a couple of months, the chicks can get food on their own, but until the end of summer they do not leave their parental nest. In early autumn, young growth is the first to go to warm places, after 2 weeks adult individuals fly after them.
Natural enemies of a dwarf eagle
Despite their strength and dexterity, birds are a vulnerable link in the ecological chain. Birds have very few natural enemies. The main ones are wolves, others, more powerful individuals and humans. The food competitor for the eagle is the kite, which takes prey from the dwarf at every opportunity.
One of the enemies of creatures is hunger. In search of larger game, the feathered go south, as some species of animals disappear from the flora, the virgin lands open, food for them becomes difficult to access. The cause of death has repeatedly become power lines, when the couple tried to equip their dwellings on poles.
The special structure of the wings allows the dwarf to fly up even during a hurricane, which makes the predator the sovereign of the air element, the main enemy of which is man. Extermination by humans led to a significant decrease in the number of birds.
As a result of agricultural activity, landscape changes occur. Not only do the birds themselves lack nutrition, lack of food also affects their offspring. If there are several chicks in the nest, starvation leads to the survival of only one baby - the strongest. Poaching and the environmental situation negatively affect population decline.
Population and species status
Photo: What does a dwarf eagle look like?
In areas where deciduous forests are well preserved, the number reaches a high density. Nesting sites are located at a distance of about 200 meters from each other, 80–100 individuals fall on 2489 acres, and about 5 nesting sites per 4 square kilometers.
A change in the biotope leads to a rapid decrease in the population. By the middle of the 20th century, in the Kharkiv region, 4 eagle nests in a certain territory after 3 years turned into only one occupied habitat. In France, at the beginning of the 20th century, the number declined sharply.
The European part of Russia has about 900-1500 thousand pairs, about 500 pairs live in the south. In the Saratov region in the 1990s, the population consisted of 100-150 pairs, in the Krasnodar Territory - 5-8 pairs. The Republic of Mordovia now has 25-40 pairs, there is a tendency to population growth. In the Ulyanovsk region there are about 20-30 pairs.
In the Samara Forest, Oryli Valley, there are about 60 pairs. The total population of the European population reaches 8 thousand pairs, 3 thousand of which live in Spain. In Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Research Center, about 450-500 pairs nest. On the coast of Lake Baikal, up to 250 birds can be found per day. In the Usinsky, Gagulsky hollows single individuals meet.
Guarding the dwarf eagle
Photo: Dwarf Red Book Eagle
The species is in the Red Book of the Russian Federation (Appendix II), where it is assigned the status of “Endangered”. It is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora II CITES, the Bonn Convention (Appendix II) and the Berne Convention (Appendix II), Appendix 2 to the Order of the RF State Committee for Ecology.
Limiting factors include poaching, biotope disturbance, low reproductive ability, fragmentation of forests, changes in stand structure due to agricultural activities, deterioration of the food supply, disturbance factor, felling of nestable trees.
Necessary protective measures - work to identify habitats, restrict economic activity for habitable territories, stop cutting trees on the territory of the range, stop poaching, and protect nesting sites.
Dwarf eagle - an intelligent and agile bird, noble and majestic. Despite its modest size, it still remains a powerful predator. Gullibility served the birds poorly, which made it easy to catch. Now, creatures need protective measures, and if they are not taken in time, the dwarf eagle will disappear as a species.
The appearance of a dwarf eagle
Males are inferior to females in size. The body length of the female is 50-53 cm, the male is 45-48 cm. In females, the wingspan reaches 110-125 cm, in males - 100-115.
Wings in length usually reach 35-37 cm, and tail - 18-20. In addition to size, females and males no longer have external differences. An adult weighs from 700 to 1300 grams.
These birds have a stocky strong body. The plumage in the lower body and tail is white. The chest is light, with dark mottled spots. Fly wings have a dark, almost black color. In some cases, the color may be dark brown, both above and below. However, there are much more light birds. In these birds, the legs are also covered with plumage. The limbs have yellow fingers ending in strong black claws.
Flight of the dwarf eagle.
The beak of a dwarf eagle is short, but powerful, very curved. It is black in color with a yellow wax. These birds have a big head. Birds fly perfectly, while developing a fairly high speed. Seeing potential prey, it attacks it with lightning speed.
Eagle behavior and nutrition
A dwarf eagle can hunt various game, the dimensions of which can be comparable with the dimensions of a rabbit. He does this thanks to powerful legs, strong claws and a strong beak. It can catch prey both on the ground and in the air, this applies to small birds, such as sparrows, starlings, doves, thrushes, larks, corncrake, etc.
A dwarf eagle is looking for prey from above.
An eagle can also attack their nest and eat eggs or chicks. A reptile, namely a snake and a lizard, can become its prey. An eagle kills a snake by striking their head with its powerful beak. But if snake venom gets into his blood, then the bird will die. It also hunts mammals. These are hares, ground squirrels, mice, rats and other rodents. Insects are also present in the diet of the dwarf eagle, but they occupy a small fraction there. In winter, these birds can eat termites. During this period, they can make up about 20% of the daily diet of the eagle.
Listen to the voice of a dwarf eagle
These birds have their own hunting tactics. At first they just sit on a branch and examine the surrounding area. The tree should be on the edge of an open area. Sometimes an eagle flies at a low altitude and suddenly scares its prey. Rarely soars at high altitude. As soon as the eagle noticed a potential prey, it drops to a height of 15-20 meters and drops down sharply with lightning speed. He grabs the prey with his claws and hits his head with his beak. To date, the population of these birds is stable and does not cause concern of specialists. The bird is not listed in the Red Book.
This species of eagles is real predators.
Reproduction and longevity
These eagles nest in a forest area, where at the same time there are open areas. It settles mainly in deciduous forests with tall trees, in conifers is much less common. If there is no forest, then he will choose a small cluster of tall trees. In many cases, the nest is located on a hill in an oak forest, since oak is the favorite tree of these birds.
The dwarf eagle is a monogamous bird; pairs are created once and for all. Before and after the nesting period, the female and the male also stick together. In a couple they go for wintering to warmer climes, together and return to their nesting places. The nest is rarely located on a branch, usually it is built in a fork in the tree, while the height should be from 7 to 20 meters. The birds prefer trees with the thickest and largest trunk.
Dwarf eagles build their nests high from the ground.
Both male and female build a nest. They make it from knots and branches. The diameter of the nest is about 1 meter, its depth is 15 cm. At the bottom of the bird lay a litter of leaves and dry grass. Sometimes birds may not build a nest, but take advantage of the ready that other large birds have left behind. In early May, the female lays eggs. Clutch usually consists of 2 eggs, 1 or 3 is extremely rare.
The incubation period is approximately 40 days. When the chicks are born, their body is covered with a pale yellow fluff. For the first week of their life, the female is in the nest and is warming her chicks with her body. The male gets food for them. They begin to fly at the age of 2 months, in terms of time it is the beginning of August. Until the end of summer, young growth adheres to parents. In early September, all young individuals hatch in packs and go south for the winter. After about 2 weeks, adult birds fly in exactly the same way. The life expectancy of these birds in the wild is approximately 25 years.
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