Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciata renschi in the Lesser Sundas, Wallacea: distribution, taxonomic status, likely origins and conservation status

Colin Trainor, S. J S Debus, Gerald Olsen, Janette Norman, Les Christidis

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    Records of Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata renschi on 18 islands in the Lesser Sundas, from Lombok to the Tanimbar islands, in Indonesia and Timor-Leste are reviewed, and its taxonomic status examined. The species is resident on many islands, known to breed on several of the larger islands and is most abundant on Flores and Timor. It appears to be rare on Lombok and Sumba. There is minimal genetic differentiation between local subspecies A. f. renschi and nominate A. f. fasciata, suggesting only recent geographic isolation and that it should not be afforded species status. The species may have been introduced to the Lesser Sundas by traders or colonists in the past. The species’s biology and ecology are poorly known in Wallacea. It occurs in a wide range of sites from sea level to about 2,000 m, in wooded habitats with a preference for tropical forest. The sparse data on diet show that it feeds on introduced wild junglefowl Gallus sp., but presumably it also feeds on large-bodied frugivorous pigeons, other birds and small mammals. The two reports of nesting were in May and June– July. The frequency of records on Flores and Timor suggests that these populations are currently secure, but may be threatened by hunting, capture and deforestation. A predator of village chickens, it is likely to be targeted by local communities. Conservation priorities include distribution and population density surveys and awareness projects throughout its range.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100-106
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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