Distribution, abundance and habitat preferences of the lesser spotted eagles of Armenia

Acopian Center for the Environment 2007-2009

The Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina) inhabits almost all deciduous forest regions of Armenia. Due to economic and energy crisis and following economic growth in Armenia from 1990-s until now the land use pattern and the forest management in Armenia was strongly altered. The mentioned factors might have a negative impact on the large forest raptor species since they are more vulnerable and sensitive to changes in their habitat. Considering that the following objectives were chosen for particular study:

  1. to refine knowledge on distribution and abundance of Lesser Spotted Eagle in Armenia
  2. to study habitat preferences of the species
  3. to identify current and potential threats for the species

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Foraging Lesser Spotted Eagle

Results

Based on the data collected during 1998-2007 it was possible to conclude the following:

  1. Distances between neighboring nests are 14. 2 and 14. 3 km (based on 4 nests)
  2. The average distance between the nest and limits of the hunting territory of a pair is 4.05 ±0.39 km
  3. The maximum possible population size of the species in the country, is preliminary estimated as about 48-52 pairs

The species in Armenia is facing to a number of direct and indirect threats, such as lack of enforced regulation in use of pesticides, poaching, human disturbance during breeding season and habitat loss.

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Habitat of the Lesser Spotted Eagle (left) and its nest on the oak tree (right)

Outcomes

  1. The article regarding the subject was published. K. Aghababyan, V. Ananian, S. Tumanyan. 2008. To the Distribution and Abundance of Lesser Spotted Eagles in Armenia. // Research and Conservation of the Greater and Lesser Spotted Eagles in Northern Eurasia. Materials 5th Conference on Raptors of Northern Eurasia Ivanovo, February 4-7, 2008
  2. Several amateur ornithologists were trained in data collection and analysis and one of them, Tatevik Tamazyan, a student of Biological Department of Yerevan State University defended a Master’s Thesis on the subject “The Ecology of Lesser Spotted Eagles in Armenia”
  3. The results of the project were used for the new edition of the Red Data Book of Armenia and would be useful for the future forest management planning and environmental assessment procedures.