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Tasmanian fuel reduction program an Australian first

23/03/2015

Tasmanian communities will be safer from the threat of bushfires, with a ground-breaking new $28.5 million program of fuel reduction burns announced today.More

Three Capes Track hut contracts awarded

19/03/2015

Two Tasmanian companies have been awarded contracts worth a total of $6.5 million to construct the huts on the Three Capes Track.More

Temporary access changes for The Nut

18/03/2015

Access to the tracks at the summit of The Nut State Reserve at Stanley will be by the chairlift only, from Monday 23 March to Friday 27 March, 2015, due to safety works being undertaken on the Zig Zag track.

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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.