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Title: First confirmed record of Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (Savigny, 1809) in Malta
Authors: Bonavia, Edward
Keywords: Birds -- Malta
Bird watching -- Malta
Imperial eagle -- Malta
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Birdlife Malta
Citation: Bonavia, E. (2020). First confirmed record of Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliacal (Savigny, 1809) in Malta. Il-Merill, 34, 87-89.
Abstract: Whilst monitoring raptors at Buskett at 14.50 CET on 3 November 2015, the author spotted a large Aquila sp. over Żebbuġ heading towards the Buskett observation post. After focussing a telescope on the bird, the author was surprised that it was not a Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina but was either a juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca or juvenile Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis due to size and general colouration. Furthermore, its upperparts had broad and uniform pale tips to greater coverts and a continuous white trailing edge to wing and tail. It then started soaring which presented its underparts, eliminating Steppe Eagle as all typical features of a juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle were noted. These features included the streaked breast collar separating the pale head from the pale rear body, uniform pale underwing coverts (unlike in Steppe which has a broad white band) giving the bird a two-toned appearance to darker flight feathers and a pale window on the inner hand. Again the white trailing edge to wing and tail was also visible. At that moment the author contacted other birdwatchers to come to Buskett to observe this bird.
Appears in Collections:Il-Merill : issue 34 : 2020
Il-Merill : issue 34 : 2020

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