06 November 2022

Returning Greater Spotted Eagles – Jubail

The first Greater Spotted Eagle returned mid-October when three were seen. Since this date numbers slowly increased to eleven by 21 October and sixteen by 29 October. Birds have included adults, sub-adults and juveniles in roughly equal numbers. This buildup in numbers matches that from previous years when the majority of birds that will spend the winter in Jubail have arrived by the end of October. More individuals do arrive as the winter progresses and 18 have been recorded on a single day. In winter birds are almost always near wetland areas with large areas where they can hunt undisturbed. They occupy a fragmented range, breeding mainly in Estonia, Poland, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, mainland China and Mongolia. Passage or wintering birds occur in small numbers over a vast area, including central and eastern Europe, North Africa, East Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian-peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent, south Asia and South-East Asia. The Greater Spotted Eagle is suspected to have undergone at least a moderately rapid decline over the last three generations as a result of habitat loss and degradation throughout its breeding and wintering ranges, together with the effects of disturbance, persecution and competition with other predators. The species is listed on the Red Data list as Vulnerable as the species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future. Birds can be seen perched on the power pylons as well as in the reed islands but are not so often seen on the ground. This was not the case with a bird recently that allowed relatively close approach I the car when sitting on a large sandy track.