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Prey availability and pylons: a lethal mix for eagles

Guelmim region is one of the most frequented areas by Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) wintering in Morocco. In this region, they share the space and the resources with another Mediterranean raptor, the Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) which is very abundant in this area outside the breeding season.

The first photo shows a Bonelli’s Eagle carrying in its talons a Fat Sand Rat (Psammomys obesus), one of its main preys in this area. And the next two show a Bonelli’s Eagle and two Spanish Imperial Eagles perching on different types of electricity pylons.

Unfortunately, the majority of these pylons are not safe and can cause death by electrocution to large raptors. In fact, that’s what happened exactly this autumn in the region. The photos were taken by Ali Irizi.

Disponibilité des proies et les pylônes : une combinaison mortelle pour les aigles

La région de Guelmim est l’une des zones les plus fréquentées par des jeunes Aigles ibériques en hivernage au Maroc. Dans cette région, ils partagent l’espace et les ressources avec un autre rapace méditerranéen, l’Aigle de Bonelli.

La première photo montre un Aigle de Bonelli portant dans ses serres un gros Rat du sable (Psammomys obesus), l’une de ses principales proies dans cette région. Et les deux suivantes montrent un Aigle de Bonelli et deux Aigles ibériques perchés sur différents types de pylônes électriques.

Malheureusement, la majorité de ces pylônes ne sont pas sans danger pour les grands rapaces et peut causer la mort par électrocution. En fait, c’est exactement ce qui a arrivé cet automne dans la région. Les photos ont été prises par Ali Irizi.

Update:

The report about these electrocutions is published:

Amezian, M., Irizi, A., Errati, A., Loran, H., El Khamlichi, R., Morandini, V., González, D. G., Garrido, J. R. 2015. Spanish Imperial Eagles and other eagles found electrocuted in Morocco and proposition of correction measures. figshare. http://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1613292

Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) carrying a Fat Sand Rat (Psammomys obesus), Guelmim region, Morocco, 7 Nov 2015 (Ali Irizi)
Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) carrying a Fat Sand Rat (Psammomys obesus), Guelmim region, Morocco, 7 Nov 2015 (Ali Irizi)
Two juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) perching on electricity pylon, Guelmim region, Morocco, 22 Oct 2015 (Ali Irizi).
Juvenile Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) perching on electricity pylon, Guelmim region, Morocco, 7 Nov 2015 (Ali Irizi).
Two juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) perching on electricity pylon, Guelmim region, Morocco, 22 Oct 2015 (Ali Irizi).
Two juvenile Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) perching on electricity pylon, Guelmim region, Morocco, 22 Oct 2015 (Ali Irizi).

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