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Philippine Eagle

A fascinating look at an endagered Philippine Eagle chick growing up... Captured and presented by National Geographic

The Philippine eagle is one of the largest predator birds in the Accipitridae family, and is known as the national bird of the Philippines. They weigh up to 18 pounds and have an average wingspan of over 6 feet. They enjoy gliding and riding thermal columns to conserve energy. The Philippine eagle also performs spectacular flight displays; but mostly during mating season as a sign of courtship. These eagles are gigantic predators of the sky, and are known for carrying off monkeys as prey, but now due to hunting and deforestation, they are at the brink of extinction.

There are over six thousand islands inclusive of the Philippines, of which only four are home to Philippine eagles. Tropical hardwood trees, the most common location for eagle nests, have become a high commodity in illegal logging operations. But even through approved development and logging, over three quarters of forests in the Philippines have been lost since the early 1900’s; providing little accommodation for these eagles in their preferred lowland habitat and causing them to move to the mountains.

In 1987, The Philippine Eagle Foundation was started in attempt to conserve this species. The main goal of this foundation is to perform captive breeding, but they also conduct scientific research, and are working on resource management programs to help with population stability and growth. Based on some of their population research, there are currently an estimated 400 breeding pairs of Philippine eagles. These numbers were extrapolated based on their average territory size and the distance between previously identified nesting sites.

Philippine Eagles sustain monogamous relationships that last a lifetime, and even though they are familiar with each other, the male eagles will still perform a courtship display every time they mate. This spectacle includes unique calls and literal talon gripping flight displays, in which both male and female clasp their talons together during flight. The male also brings food and nesting material to their mate to show that they are able to provide for their family. A clutch of only one egg is laid every two years on average that is incubated for close to two months. Once the eaglet hatches, they remain with their parents for a year and a half before they are able to fend for themselves. During this time the parents may teach their young to use their instinctual abilities to hunt, survive, and care for a family of their own.


The life of the Philippine eagle leaves much up to the imagination with their excellent ability to stay hidden, so there is much more to learn regarding population, life span, wellbeing, and the use of their habitat. All the foundation can do is continue their research and assist in the conservation of this species as much as they can, in hopes to at least stabilize the Philippine eagle population, if not increase it over time. Rare video footage was captured showing an endangered Philippine eagle chick being raised in the wild – click this link to watch – this video is a hope for successful conservation of this spectacular species.

At Hawkeye Bird & Animal Control, we provide assistance with the relocation or rehabilitation of wild birds of prey that are either nesting in a location that is a danger to themselves or humans – or birds of prey that require medical attention. If this is a problem you are dealing with, please visit the contact us section of our website and we would be happy to find a solution that is in the best interests of the wildlife and yourself.

 

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