Wedge-Tail Eagle

The wedge-tailed eagle sometimes known as the eaglehawk, is the largest bird of prey in Australia.

Aborigines or indigenous people call the bird “bunjii.”

They are also found in New Guinea, part of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.  It can be recognized by its wedge-shaped tail.

Weight:  females 3- 5.77  kg (6.6-12.7 lbs)

males     2.4 kg        (4.4 to 8.8 lbs)

Wingspan:  181-232 cm  (6 ft – 7.7 inches)

The wingspan place it among the largest eagles in the world.

Colour:

Females -dark blackish brown – slightly paler than the males

In Australia, they like to make their homes in lightly timbered and open countryside.

Courtship:

At times, the male will dive at an incredible speed towards a female wedgie.  He will pull out of his dive and fly just above her.  She will either ignore him or will playfully fly upside down while stretching out her talons.  Then the pair may peform a loop-the-loop holding on to one another.

Nesting and Eggs

Near to the breeding season, wedge-tailed eagle pairs perch close to one another.  They show their friendship for one another by preening.  The nest will be about 30 m or 90 feet above the ground often in the fork of a tree.  If they are near the ocean, they will often build their nest on a cliff edge.

The female Wedge-tail will usually lay two eggs.  Both parents will take turns incubating them.  At the beginning, the male will do all of the hunting.  When the chicks become a month old, both parents join in the search for food.  They will be feed until they are six months.  Wedgies stay with the same partner for life.

Flying High and Gliding

Wedgies love to soar high above the earth for hours gliding on wind currents.  They have been spotted at 1,800 metres or 5,900 ft.  Often this flying just seems to be for enjoyment.  When hungry, the Wedgie dives to capture its prey on the ground.  Wedge-tails often eat road kill, but they have a choice of diet: rabbit, foxes, feral cats, emus and bandicoots.  They have also been known to kill wallabies, possums, koalas as well as water fowl (ducks, ibises).  Birds are also part of the Wegie’s diet: cockatoos, bush turkeys, crows.  If food is scarce, a Wedge-tail will eat lizards, goannas and even brown snakes.  A Wedgie can lift a carcas half its own weight.

Emblems:  

Northern Territories Australia Emblem

The Northern Territories of Australia has made the bird its emblem.

Northern Territories

The New South Wales Police Frorce is proud to adapt the Wedgie as its emblem.  Several parts of the Australia military wears the Wedgie as a logo or coat of arms.

Defending Their Territory

Wedgies will attack other eagles that come into their territory. (They are also known on occasion to attack intruding model airplanes, hang gliders, gliders, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.)

Pauline the writer here.   I had the incredible pleasure of holding a Wedgie on my arm for a photograph.  Her name was Jessie.