The Country Diary of a GenX Woman

Wedge Tailed Eagle

Wedge Tailed EagleThis is the largest bird of prey in Australia and one of the largest in the world.  The wedge tailed eagle has a wingspan of 2.3m or over 7.5 feet, the largest recorded was over 9ft!  No wonder the guinea fowl were making such a noise when it appeared just after midday.  The guineas have different alarm calls depending on whether it is a fox, a snake or a bird of prey.  I know the difference now, so I always grab the camera when they start shouting about an eagle.  The Little Eagle we spotted in February was half the size and that looked pretty big at the time.

The scientific name for the wedge tailed eagle, Aquila Audax, translates as bold eagle and groups of eagles can attack and kill larger animals like kangaroos.  Their fearsome reputation led to over 100,000 being killed for a bounty in the 40 years up to 1968;  they were blamed for killing lambs.  They can live for up to 20 years and will pairbond for life.  The females are bigger than the males and can weigh over 5kg.

According to Wikipedia They are highly aerial, soaring for hours on end without wingbeat or effort, regularly reaching 1,800 metres.  The purpose of this very high flight is unknown. Their keen eyesight extends into the infrared and ultraviolet bands. This helps them spot prey and allows them to see rising thermals, which they can use to gain altitude while expending little energy.

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