Diet and breeding performance of the Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos at the eastern and western extremities of the Pyrenees: an example of intra-population variability


Authors: Michel CLOUET, Jean-François GERARD, Jean-Louis GOAR, Michel GOULARD, Luc GONZALEZ, Isabelle REBOURS and Christian FAURE


Published: Volume 64.2, July 2017. Pages 347-361.

Language: Spanish

Original Title: Dieta y parámetros reproductores del águila real  Aquila chrysaetos en los límites oriental y occidental de los Pirineros: un ejemplo de variabilidad intrapoblacional

Keywords: Basque Country, Corbieres, density, diet diversity, prey and weather influence


Diet and breeding performance show variations across species’ range and between different habitats. In the present paper, we report data on the diet and breeding performance of Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos monitored during a ten-year period in two semi-natural landscapes located at the eastern and western extremities of the Pyrenees mountain range. In the Mediterranean area of the Corbieres, the diet was dominated by the Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (31.5% of the prey items). In the Atlantic area of the Basque Country, the diet was more diverse, with the highest proportion of intra-guild predation and the highest diet breadth ever recorded for the species (Levins index of diet breadth: 12.14 vs 6.81 in the Corbieres). The proportion of successful breeding attempts was significantly higher in the Corbieres (60%) than in the Basque Country (38.5%). The same was true for mean productivity, with 0.70 and 0.45 fledglings per territory and year, respectively. These differences were partly related to the excess of snow cover in April in the Basque Country. Our results provide an example of intra-population variability in a long-lived apex predator at the extremes of a geographical gradient involving climate and prey availability.

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