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Join us for the Power of Parks forum at Launceston

22/07/2016

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) in partnership with the University of Tasmania is exploring The Power of Parks through a series of UTAS public forums celebrating the benefits that parks and reserves provide to Tasmania's overall identify.More

Shipwreck identified as the Viola

19/07/2016

Timber samples from a ship wrecked on Tasmania's East Coast nearly 160 years ago have been identified as the Canadian-built brig Viola.More

Prosecution for Stanley penguin deaths

15/07/2016

The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and the Circular Head Council have conducted a joint investigation after 18 little penguins were found dead near a rookery in Stanley on the State's North-West coast last week.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.