The wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)
is found in a wide variety of habitats. It is almost black when mature, has feathered legs and a long wedge-shaped tail. It is a massive bird which can weigh up to 5 kg, with a wing span of up to 2.2 m or just over 7 feet.
They 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. Breeding eagles need over 10 ha of surrounding forest especially uphill of a nest tree.
The 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 for full details of this species' plight.