Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

The Diet of the Wedge-Tailed Eagle, Aquila Audax, in Western Australia.

MG Brooker and MG Ridpath

Australian Wildlife Research 7(3) 433 - 452
Published: 1980


The diet during nesting of the wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax was examined in several regions of Western Australia. On the arid Nullarbor Plain, rabbits were by far the major food item despite the presence of a number of other prey species. In the south-west of the State, which has a Mediterranean climate, birds (especially ducks, parrots and corvids), rabbits and sheep were the most important foods in a very diverse diet. On the arid western coast near Carnarvon, kangaroos and sheep predominated as food but a number of foxes and cats were also taken. In northern Western Australia, macropods appeared to be the main food source. Eagles were capable of capturing a large number of different species of reptiles, birds and mammals, and these varied considerably in size. Snakes, and birds from orders Pelecaniformes, Ardeiformes and Charadriiformes were rarely taken. Lambs made a significant contribution to the diet of eagles in some regions of Western Australia but the number eaten relative to the number of neonatal deaths from all causes was not high. In the regions studied, predation by eagles seemed unlikely to have a significant effect on rabbit numbers.


© CSIRO 1980

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