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1 June 2009 Space Use of Adult Spanish Imperial Eagles Aquila adalberti
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Abstract

The ranges and space use of eight radio-tracked Spanish Imperial Eagles are described. The annual mean range was 25 146 ha during the breeding season (BS) and 20 557 ha in the non-breeding season (NBS). The eagles were found up to 35.9 km away from their nest during BS and nearly 62 km away during NBS. The maximum total distance covered in one day was 113.6 km, with males flying longer distances than females during BS. There was less overlap between ranges during BS, and the mean home range varied from 3881 ha in BS to 2085 ha in NBS. The areas where territorial behaviour (display flights, defence and/or aggression) was observed contained the nest-tree, the most frequently used perches, and the feeding ground nearest to the nest. Breeding home ranges were negatively correlated with densities of Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus. Breeding eagles whose home range had low rabbit densities travelled 16.2–28.9 km from their nest to reach distant, undefended feeding grounds with much higher rabbit densities. Our results suggest that home ranges varied with prey density and a bird's reproductive status. Larger breeding ranges are probably related to an increase in energy requirements, while habitat quality is probably a regulatory mechanism of space use. In terms of home range analysis methodology, our observations of eagle behaviour favour Cluster Analysis over Kernel, particularly for defining distant feeding grounds.

Maria Fernández, Javier Oria, Roberto Sánchez, Luis Mariano Gonzalez, and Antoni Margalida "Space Use of Adult Spanish Imperial Eagles Aquila adalberti," Acta Ornithologica 44(1), (1 June 2009). https://doi.org/10.3161/000164509X464849
Received: 1 May 2008; Accepted: 1 April 2009; Published: 1 June 2009
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