06 November 2011

Eastern Imperial Eagle - Sabkhat Al Fasl

I saw my first Eastern Imperial Eagle for the site at Sabkhat Al Fasl although it is a regular species here. They are not as common as Greater Spotted Eagle at the site but they have been seen most winters. I only saw one bird that was sitting in a flattened down area of reeds at the back of the reserve and then I only saw it briefly as it took flight and flew of over the reeds and out of sight. I managed to get a couple of fairly poor shots of the bird that I have posted here, but you can see some of the identification features. The Middle East is the main wintering area for this species with most of the birds occurring here probably coming from central Asia. Numbers of the species worldwide have been declining so it is great to see birds are still using the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia on passage or to winter. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as the species has a small global population, and is likely to be undergoing continuing declines, primarily as a result of habitat loss and degradation, adult mortality through persecution and collision with power-lines, nest robbing and prey depletion (Birdlife factsheet).