Uncommon, breeding resident. Declared Vulnerable in the ACT and NSW.
One of the smallest eagles in the world, the little eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides) are stocky, powerful birds with a wingspan of about a metre with dark spreading fingers at the wing tips. There is a pale broken M across its underparts, which is visible from a distance. It has a moderately long tail, square-cut at the tip when closed. The legs are heavily feathered or "booted". It soars in tight circles, gliding on flat wings. The female is larger than the male.
The Little Eagle is endemic to Australia and is distributed throughout the mainland. In south-eastern Australia there has been a general and continuing decline in its abundance over the last 30 years based on indices established by national and regional censuses. The main threat to the Little Eagle appears to be loss of habitat. Competition with Wedge-tailed Eagles and secondary poisoning from pindone (used to control rabbits a major little eagle food item) are also suspected of being factors of decline.
The Little Eagle prefers open forest and woodland habitat, which in our region occurs below 750m. Higher abundance of the species is associated with hillsides where there is a mosaic of wooded and open areas such as riparian woodlands, forest margins and wooded farmland.
Research into the movement and local ecology of the species is currently underway. Your help is sought by loading images of sightings to Canberra Nature Map, which will assist in locating new nests and tracking movement of particular birds. Highlights of the study to date include:
Page 1 2