Águila de Bonelli

Since 1997, the Bonelli’s Eagle has been the target of up to 11 LIFE projects in various regions of Spain:

  • Navarra: LIFE96NAT/E/3114 (1997-2000)
  • Extremadura: LIFE97 NAT/E/004161 (1997-2002)
  • Aragón: (Sierra de Guara) LIFE97 NAT/E/004180 (1997-2001)
  • Castilla y León: (Arribes del Duero) LIFE97 NAT/E/004188 (1998-2000)
  • Castilla-La Mancha: (Alto Tajo) LIFE98 NAT/E/005308 (1998-2002)
  • La Rioja: LIFE99 NAT/E/006419 (1999-2002)
  • País Vasco: (Álava) LIFE00 NAT/E/007336 (2001-2004)
  • Castilla y León: (Burgos) LIFE 2002NAT/E/8598 (2002-2006)
  • Murcia: LIFE 02/NAT/E/8602 (2002-2006)
  • Castilla-La Mancha: LIFE07 NAT/E/000742 (2009-2014)
  • Álava, Andalucía, Madrid, Mallorca, Navarra y Francia: LIFE BONELLI - LIFE12 NAT/ES/000701 (2013-2017)

LIFE projects for the Bonelli’s Eagle in Spain 1996-2007  Map of the Virtual Atlas of the terrestrial avifauna of Spain. MNCN / CSIC-SEOBirdLife

To these projects, we have to add two LIFE projects dedicated to the correction of power lines in Aragón (LIFE04NAT / E / 0034) and Murcia (LIFE06NAT / E / 000214). In addition, one more project is being implemented in Portugal for the Bonelli's Eagle and three other species in the border area of ​​the Duero with Spain (LIFE RUPIS - LIFE14 NAT / PT / 000855) and another in Italy to favour the Sicilian populations of the Bonelli’s Eagle and two other birds of prey (LIFE CONRASI - LIFE14 NAT/IT/001017).

Until the LIFE BONELLI project, conservation initiatives of the Bonelli’s Eagle addressed the main factors that had led to the sudden population collapse of the species between the seventies and nineties, focusing on the reduction of discomfort and the causes of mortality (monitoring of nests, recovery of prey species, management of climbing areas, dissemination campaigns and correction of electricity lines). The majority were actions located in regions and even in specific provinces or enclaves, so that the vision of the problems faced by the Iberian population of the Bonelli's Eagle has been limited to a local rather than a meta-population perspective.


The LIFE Bonelli Legacy


Despite these efforts, the Bonelli’s Eagle populations not only did not recover, but continued to decline and they were being so diminished that several public and private entities decided in 2012 to act decisively before the species reached a more serious situation and promoted the LIFE BONELLI project. Its strategy was based on carrying out a directed dispersal of individuals born in captivity and translocated from the healthy Andalusian population, as well as others from captive breeding, using a technique that settles them in a specific territory, which has allowed the release of almost a hundred birds in the Community of Madrid, Mallorca, Navarra and Álava.

Thanks to LIFE BONELLI we have witnessed the settlement of a new Bonelli’s Eagle population, currently growing, in Mallorca, where it had become extinct in the seventies. In 2017, some thirty specimens and seven territorial pairs already formed the new Majorcan population of Bonelli’s Eagle. Between 2014 and 2017, eleven chicks were born on this island in freedom in four different territories of the species.

Bonelli's Eagle's nest of the new Mallorcan population
Meanwhile, in 2015 in the north of the province of Burgos, a chick was born from a couple whose female was a bird released by LIFE BONELLI. In 2017 in the Community of Madrid two couples of the species have formed, which also has installed itself in bordering provinces like Toledo and Guadalajara. In Navarra, two reintroduced specimens have formed a couple and are expected to breed when they reach sexual maturity.

The efforts of the LIFE BONELLI partner entities dealing with electricity companies and public administrations have made it possible to correct a large number of power lines dangerous for the species during the four years the project lasted. However, the task is arduous, since there are tens of thousands of support parts in the entire distribution area of ​​the Bonelli’s Eagle and it is necessary to complement the corrections with a new formative and administrative approach like the one proposed in the new AQUILA a-LIFE project.

Bélmez, one of the eagles released in Madrid

A new project arrives

With a validity of five years (from 2017 to 2022), the AQUILA a-LIFE project has taken over from LIFE Bonelli with the same species. The objective is to continue working on the recovery of the Bonelli’s Eagle populations in the areas of historical presence in the centre and north of the Iberian Peninsula and in Sardinia. In addition, this project will devote a considerable part of its efforts and resources to reduce mortality of the species due to electrocution.


New territories formed in LIFE Bonelli

Nuevos territorios en la península

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