The Bonelli's eagle (scient. Hieraaetus fasciatus) is a medium-sized bird of prey, with a wingspan of 145-165cm and a body length of 55-60cm. In Crete, it is met quite often, although its population has declined during the last years.
The body of this bird is dark on its back, with its bottom having white streaks ending in a long, narrow and straight tail. The young eagles are orange. From a distance, the combination of the white body and the dark wings are characteristic of this species.
Despite its size, the beautiful Bonelli's eagle is very strong and combative. It is famous for its speed, especially when hunting in pairs. The Bonelli’s eagle hunts medium-sized birds such as crows, pigeons, partridges and small mammals such as weasels, rabbits, mice and occasionally lizards.
The medium-altitude mountain areas are the ideal habitat for this bird. Thus, in Crete the species is common in warm and rocky areas covered with brushwood. One such place is the wild Asterousia Range in south Heraklion Prefecture.
The Bonelli's eagles make 1-6 nests, located nearby to each other, on steep mountain slopes, which are used successively. They lay 1-2 eggs once a year between February and April.
The disturbance near breeding areas due to human activities, such as road constructing, is the main threats for the species. Furthermore, the widespread use of pesticides and the overhunting of its prey, have limited the food of Bonelli's eagle.