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Spanish Imperial Eagle - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Adalbert's Eagle; Spanish Eagle

Photo by RafCediel
Madrid, Spain, July 2015
Aquila adalberti


74–85 cm (29-33½ in)

These birds are closely related to Eastern Imperial Eagle but tend to be larger with a proportionately shorter wingspan to body length.

Adult plumage differs in the presence of a variable white leading edge in Adalbert's Eagle whilst juveniles have a more tawny unstreaked plumage.


South-west Europe and north-west Africa. Very low population breeds in a limited area of central and south-west Spain. Range formerly much more extensive in Spain and also bred in Portugal but today the stronghold is the Extremadura region.

Photo by fsanchex
Spain, August 2015

Although mainly resident, there is some dispersal and young birds have sometimes wandered across to Morocco. Formerly bred in Morocco and nesting recently confirmed there in 1995; apparently returned to Morocco after an absence of more than 40 years. One pair nested on the cliffs of Punta cierras 31 km east of Tangier city in the north of the country. Also a former breeder in Algeria. In the past occasional birds have reached the Balearics and recently recorded as a vagrant in southern France.


Open, mainly lowland country, often grassland, with scattered trees. Wooded foothills and patches of woodland close to open country and often hunts over marshes.


Formerly considered conspecific with the Imperial Eagle (A. heliaca).

This is a monotypic species[1].


Photo by sdaly
La Janda, Spain, September 2006


They build a stick nest high in the trees.


A very effective predator of small mammals, up to the size of a Hare, with rabbit a particular favourite and medium-sized birds (up to and including Greylag Geese).


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BF Member observations
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2015)

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