Short-toed Eagle density: c. 1.3 pairs/100 km2. Open the map.
Short-toed Eagle density: c. 4 pairs/100 km2. Open the map.
Please take a look at the map of the area. General botanical description and a photo can be viewed below:
La Retuerta is situated in the central part of the Ebro valley, east of Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain. The extreme climatic conditions of the area have produced a vegetation similar to that of the North-African steppes. This climate can be summarized as follows: large annual range of minimum and maximum temperatures, oscillating from -10 oC to more than +40 oC; frequent frost in spring; prevailing winds from the NW and the SE (cold and warm, respectively), both with great desiccating power; low annual rainfall (200-400 mm); water deficit over 300 mm.
Two neighboring breeding sites with eyries 2100 m apart (but more than an hour on foot) in the heart of the Allier gorges, one of the most scenic spots of the Massif Central with a great biodiversity an no measures of protection. The area is a border of the massif of La Margeride and the Velay’s hight plateaux, on the margeridian slope. Here, the valley is 400 m deep with slopes of 60%. Generaly, those birds avoid meeting but some hunting grounds are shared that can cause agonistic behavior.
Altitude: 890 m. Exposition: NE.
Altitude: 900 m. Exposition: ENE. Other interesting species: idem.
Nearest hunting ground: 100 ha of heath, growing after fires. No agricultural activities. Everywhere brooms, thick or sparse, with rocks in places, cliffs and bushes and few pines. The slopes are difficult of access for humans because of the vegetation, rocks and declivity, but very easy for snake eagles, with up-draughts (permitting hang-gliding and thermal soaring).
The zone has principally horizontal landscape. Large mainly pine man-made forests with oaks, birches and other leafy trees. Many not big rivers and wetlands. Big pieces of water, such as the Dnieper River with the Kiev Reservoir and some of the Dnieper’s tributaries: the Desna and the Pripyat Rivers. Rivers floodplanes are traditionally used as pastures for cows mainly and as grasslands.
Species of the potential prey: Natrix natrix – the most numerous, apparently is staple food of Short-toed Eagle, also sporadical Vipera berus and extremely rare Coronella austriaca; some species of lizards: Anguis fragilis – common, Lacerta agilis – the most numerous.
Typical breeding territories: old thin dry parts of pine forests. Nests on pines, usually near the tops, sometimes in “witch’s broom”. There are a lot of cutover areas inside the forestlands. A range of known the nest situation heights: 13-33 m.
Typical hunting territories: large open areas situated close to various pieces of water, such as floodplanes of big and small rivers, grounds nearby marshes and drain channels – usual inhabitations of Grass Snake and lizards.
15 pairs are surveyed since 1996 in the west of department, on the slopes of the huge hercynian massif of Margeride. Very few human activities in valleys. None intensive agricultural practices on the boarding plateaux (cattle: cow, sheep). Birds nest in V-shaped valleys of the Allier and tributaries, between 700 and 950 m above sea level. Eyries generally on pines, sometimes on firs. Usually nest areas are quiet.
Diet is based on few species: Elaphe longissima (chiefly), Vipera aspis (often), Anguis fragilis (especially during cool and rainy periods), sometimes Coronella. Lizards: Lacerta viridis and Podarcis muralis.
Nearest hunting ground: Slopes overgrazed by sheep, sparsely covered in broom (Genista purgens), with rocky outcrops.
Nearest hunting ground: Between the line of tall trees along a small brook (invisible), and the forest. At the foot of a slope. Sparse heath with few rocks.
Contributor: Richard Frèze.
Country: France. Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
A small population of Short-toed Eagles, of about 10/12 pairs, is studied since 2002. They live on the hills located at the east of the town of Marseilles in the area of “Basse Provence”.
The zone occupies an area of approximately 900 km2 but because of strong human activities only a part is favorable to be settled by the birds. Great a difference between hunting and nesting territories can’t be noticed for the region.
The vegetation is made up primarily by scrubland with Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) and pine forests with Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) mainly.
The majority of the nests are located on slopes exposed to south/south-east and are built on side branches of Aleppo Pines.
Let us invite you to take part in common collection of short descriptions of Short-toed Eagles biotopes in different regions. This idea belongs to Bernard Joubert. The project aims to describe the whole area of the species distribution. It should be something like collection of photos of typical for Short-toed Eagles hunting and breeding territories with short notes about the authors, their comments, which will be connected with a map. The test version of it can be viewed here. Please, if you have some propositions, we would be glad to discuss them – firstname.lastname@example.org; or as a comment to this post.