Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus)
Bonelli’s Eagle, or Spizaetos or Skarovitsila as it may be called in Crete, is a medium-sized eagle – some 65-72 cm in body length, with a wingspan of 150-180 cm. Though relatively small, it is particularly aggressive, and remarkable for its speed in flight. Adults are black above with a white back, from below predominately light-coloured with flecks all over.
They inhabit mountainous regions at low to medium levels of altitude (up to 1500 m), preferring warm and rocky terrain with maquis and phrygana-types of vegetation. Typical for Crete are the Asteroussia Mountains. They nest not in trees usually, but on rocky faces: each couple build several nests (up to 6) which they use in rotation. Their prey are birds and medium-sized mammals (rabbits, hares, rodents, partridges, pigeons etc), which they take on the ground.
About half the Greek population lives on the islands and on Crete. It is judged a Vulnerable Species in the Greek Red Book. The major threats are poaching, habitat loss and the overuse of pesticides.