Aquila verreauxii (Lesson 1830) Verreaux's Eagle
Hebrew name: עיט שחור, ayit Shahor
Global Threat: NE – Not Evaluated
Regional Threat: RE (as breeder) – Regionally Extinct
Distribution area: Rare vagrant in the Eilat Mountains, very rare in the Negev and Judean Desert, mainly in the winter.
Historic distribution: An adult specimen was collected in En Gedi in 1911 (Schmitz Collection), but until 1961 no additional observations were recorded. There are circa 30 records of up to 5 Verreaux’s eagles seen together from the Upper Galilee between 1961-1971. Two pairs apparently bred in 1964, one in Nahal Dishon and another in Nahal Bezet. Since 1971 no eagles were seen in the Mediterranean region in Israel (Paz 1986; Shirihai 1996). This species was not known from the Galilee in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Thus, the increase in observations from the Galilee in the 1960s may be a result of Verreaux’s eagles wandering north. This local movement may have been made possible by decreased competition with local raptor species that were severely decimated by the intensive use of pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s.
Typical Habitat: Mountains and cliffs in the Mediterranean and desert regions.
Major Extinction Factors: Unknown.
Period During Which Species Became Extinct: Early 1970s.
Population Size: The breeding population is extinct.
Isolation Between Subpopulations: The small population that bred in the Galilee was the northernmost population of this species, and separated by some 250 km from the nearest pairs in Jordan.
Species Rehabilitation Possibility: The probability of Verreaux's eagles breeding in Israel again is low, and would require special efforts. Since breeding in Israel was apparently random and discontinuous there seems to be no grounds to initiate a reintroduction project.