101 couples only in Castilla y León – CVBJ
01/09/2022 at 14:44 CET
The Iberian Imperial Eagle, arguably Spain’s most iconic raptor, was literally on the verge of extinction. In the 60s there were only 30 pairs left in the whole Peninsula. However, today, thanks to the efforts of institutions, experts and citizen groups, there are already more than 100 couples in Castile and León alone, according to the latest data. This figure, added to the rest of the country, consolidates the recovery of this species.
The latest data indicates that Castile and Leon has notably increased in recent years its breeding population of imperial eagles, increasing from 29 pairs of this species in 2005, to 101 in 2020.
As reported by the Ministry of Development and Environment, the sharp increase in population in recent years has been accompanied by a notable increase in the range, having for the first time recorded its presence as a breeder in the province of Palencia.
The monitoring plan for the conservation status of the biodiversity of Castilla y León establishes as one of its objectives the annual monitoring of imperial eagle populations throughout its range in Castilla y León with the aim of assessing the trend of both the occupancy of the area of the species, as well as the size of the population.
A specimen in flight | Europe Press
As a result of this work, the species census for the year 2020 was carried out and 101 territories were counted in Castilla y León in which there was a presence of this species; territories distributed among the provinces of Segovia (45 territories), Ávila (33 territories), Valladolid (15 territories), Burgos (3 territories) and Zamora and Salamanca, with two territories in each province.
Also, load Of particular importance is the first record of a breeding pair of the Iberian Imperial Eagle in the province of Palencia.
During this census, a complete monitoring of reproduction was carried out in 99 pairs of imperial eagles and it was found that the spawning rate was very high, confirming spawning in 94 percent of the territories.
Productivity has been estimated at 1.5 chickens per pair, with a reproductive success of 1.62 chickens per pair with lay. In addition, the 85 pairs that had chickens raised a total of 151 hovered chickens, so the theft rate was 1.78 chickens per pair.
45.5% of the 101 territories of Castilla y León with the presence of breeding pairs of the species are located in a special protection zone for birds, highlighting the SPA of Sierra de Guadarrama, in Segovia, with ten territories , and the ZEPA Valles del Voltoya and la Zorita, in Segovia, with ten.
More and more territories with the imperial eagle
With the data of this last census of the imperial eagle of 2020 in the Community, we can verify that the trend for the species over the past twelve years has increased from 40 territories in 2009 to 101 territories in 2020, an increase of 152.5 percent.
Ávila has significantly increased its population from 21 pairs to 33 territories and the population of Segovia has increased from 19 pairs to 45. In addition, the species it colonized the provinces of Valladolid, Salamanca, Zamora, Burgos and Palencia as nesting sites.
For its part, the long-term evolution of the imperial eagle population in Castilla y León is also very positive. The species suffered a severe crisis that brought it to historic lows in the 70s of the last century.
The five eagles of the Spanish fauna | Nature Blue
Later, in the 90s, about twenty pairs were recorded, with high mortality and low productivity. However, the effect of the many conservation measures that were implemented in the following years, led to a rapid recovery, reaching 29 pairs in 2005, 46 pairs in 2010, 74 in 2015 and up to 101 in 2020 .
The sharp increase in population over the past twelve years has been accompanied by a significant increase in distribution area, from having breeding pairs in 33 10 × 10 km UTM squares in 2009, to 75 squares in 2020, which represents an increase of 127.3 percent.
Despite the notable increase in the number of imperial eagle individuals in recent years and the increase in its range, its main pressures and threats continue to significantly affect the population.
The most important cause of death is electrocution in power lines, while other more common causes have declined in relative importance in the past, such as poisoning and gunshot death.
It is the imperial eagle, exclusive to the peninsula
The Iberian Imperial Eagle, Aquila adalberti, has a limited global range in the center and west of the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the most endangered species in the world, and with a very small range, especially after its extinction in North Africa.
It occupies Mediterranean forest habitats and its presence depends to a large extent on the abundance of its basic prey. In general, it avoids highly humanized areas for nesting, although in recent years it has colonized areas with a higher degree of anthropization.
The breeding adults are sedentary, but the young individuals, when they emancipate, disperse in different areas of the Peninsula and it is common for some individuals to cross the Strait of Gibraltar towards Morocco, even reaching Senegal.
Perched eagle | Pinterest
The application of effective conservation measures, such as modification of dangerous power lines, provision of supplementary feeding to breeding pairs, monitoring of nests with particular conservation problems, protection of breeding and feeding areas, adequate management of forestry works in the nest environment and the re-establishment of rabbit populations resulted in an increase in the population and the colonization of new breeding areas.
In addition to conservation measures, exhaustive monitoring was carried out during the breeding seasons, which made it possible to precisely know the evolution of the population.
The Iberian Imperial Eagle is included in the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species with the Endangered Category (Royal Decree 139/2011) and in Annex I of the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147 / EC). It is listed as “vulnerable” worldwide in the IUCN 2000 Red List of Threatened Species (at high risk of extinction in the wild), and in the Bern Convention on the Conservation of Wildlife and the Natural Environment in Europe it is located in Annex II referring strictly to protected species.