IDENTIFICATION. The Short-toed Eagle is noticeable by its white breast and lower abdomen. The back and tops of wings are brown with grey on the upper parts. This eagle has a small bill, when compared to Golden or White-Tailed Sea Eagles, and vivid yellow eyes. The tail is barred. Not as large as some of its cousins the Short-toed Eagle is about the size of a buzzard.
Could be mistaken for a Rough-Legged Buzzard.
IN FLIGHT. Short-toed Eagles spend a great deal of time on the wing. Using hot air thermals and updrafts they can soar as high as 1500 feet in search of prey. Quartering over open land is another affective hunting technique that the eagle uses. In common with the Rough-Legged Buzzard the Short-toed Eagle will hover whilst looking for prey, and like the 'Rough-leg' they lack the Kestrels finesse. The courtship flight is a high undulating glide.
DISTRIBUTION. The Short-Toed Eagle is to be found throughout Southern and Central Europe, the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa. A very rare migrant from France and Spain, occasionally seen in the Scilly Isles, the South West of England and Southern Ireland.
WHEN SEEN. A very rare summer visitor.
FOOD. Reptiles of which the main part is snakes. Mammals to the size of rabbits.
BREEDING. April - June. 1 egg laid in tree nest. The egg is incubated for about 7 weeks, with the youngster flying 70-75 days later.
SIZE. Circa 51-61cm (20-24in))
CALL. A 'whistle'.
Not generally used infalconry.
NB. If you buy one of these raptors it should be fitted with a closed leg ring and have an Article 10 form with it (any queries check with DEFRA).