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Congratulations to Working on Country graduates

22/04/2016

A partnership program between the Tasmanian Government and the Australian Government has seen four Working on Country Aboriginal rangers gain professional qualifications in land management.More

Mount Field centenary celebrations

14/04/2016

Two of Tasmania's most loved parks, Freycinet and Mount Field, were first reserved on 29 August 1916 and this milestone is being celebrated during the year with a variety of events.
More

Big Green Island rat eradication under way

24/03/2016

The first stage of a project to eradicate rats from Big Green Island and provide increased protection for its biodiversity values, is under way, following the installation of more than 2,100 bait stations using the latest digital technology.More

Wedge-Tailed Eagle, Aquila audax

Wedge-tailed eagle

The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle is brownish-black to almost black when mature. The feathers are edged with a lighter brown. The legs are feathered and the bird has a long, wedge-shaped tail. It is a massive bird, standing over a metre tall, weighing up to 5 kg, and with a wing span of up to 2.2 m.

Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles have been isolated for 10 000 years from their mainland counterparts and have become a separate subspecies. With only about 130 pairs successfully breeding each year in Tasmania, the wedge-tailed eagle is listed as endangered. The major threats to the species include habitat loss, nest disturbance, collisions and electrocutions with powerlines and persecution through shooting, trapping and poisoning by thoughtless persons. Please see our Living with Wildlife pages and threatened species pages for full details of this species' plight.

Description

The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle is brownish-black to almost black when mature. The feathers are edged with a lighter brown. The legs are feathered and the bird has a long, wedge-shaped tail. It is a massive bird, standing over a metre tall, weighing up to 5 kg, and with a wing span of up to 2.2 m.

Habitat

The wedge -tailed eagle is found in a wide variety of habitats, including open plains, forests and mountains.

Diet

Wedge-tailed Eagles are effective hunters, taking small mammals such as wallabies and rabbits. They also feed on carrion.

Breeding

Wedge-tailed Eagles use very traditional nests almost always in very large eucalypts sheltered from the wind. They are very shy nesters and will often desert their nests if disturbed by land clearing, particularly early on in the breeding season, which is August to January. Although 1-3 eggs are laid, usually only one chick is raised. Breeding eagles need over 10 ha of surrounding forest especially uphill of a nest tree.

Call

Calls are infrequently heard, but include  a double "pee-yaa" and a soft "pseet-you".

Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania

Distribution

Wedge-tailed Eagles are found throughout mainland Australia and southern New Guinea.

The Tasmanian subspecies is an uncommon resident found in suitable habitat throughout the island.