The wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax) is a majestic bird of prey that can be found throughout mainland Australia, as well as in Tasmania and southern Papua New Guinea. With a wingspan of up to 2.8 meters, it is one of the largest birds of prey in the world, and is an important cultural and ecological symbol in Australia.
ECOLOGY AND HABITAT
Wedge-tailed eagles are primarily found in open woodland, savanna, and forested areas, and prefer to nest in large, mature trees. They are opportunistic predators, feeding on a variety of prey including small mammals, birds, reptiles, and even carrion. They are also known to scavenge from roadkill and rubbish dumps. Wedge-tailed eagles play an important role in the ecosystem as top predators, helping to control populations of small mammals and birds.
BREEDING AND REPRODUCTION
Wedge-tailed eagles have been an important cultural symbol for Indigenous Australians for thousands of years. In many Aboriginal cultures, the bird is associated with the creator spirit, and is considered a sacred animal. The eagle’s feathers have been used in ceremonies and traditional artwork, and the bird itself has been depicted in rock art and dreamtime stories.
In modern Australian culture, the wedge-tailed eagle is also a popular icon, appearing on the Australian coat of arms and on many Australian coins. The bird is highly respected and admired for its strength, power, and majesty.
THREATS AND CONSERVATION
While wedge-tailed eagles are not currently considered a threatened species, they do face a number of threats in the wild. Habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as the use of poisons and traps by farmers and land managers, are major threats to the species. In addition, collisions with vehicles and power lines can also cause significant mortality.
Conservation efforts for wedge-tailed eagles include protecting and managing their habitat, as well as reducing the use of poisons and traps. In addition, many Australian states have laws and regulations in place to protect the birds and their nests from disturbance and destruction.