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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

PAVEZ, EDUARDO F.. Breeding biology of the black-chested eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus (Aves: Accipitridae) in central Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2001, vol.74, n.3, pp.687-697. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2001000300014.

The breeding biology of the black-chested eagle (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) was studied during a 2-year period (July 1987­January 1989) in San Carlos de Apoquindo, central Chile. The beginning of the reproductive period was evident by the increased number of couple-flights. Courting behavior included synchronized flights, cooperative capture of prey and transport of nest material, as well as copulation. Prey exchanges between adults occurred throughout the year, although outside the breeding season they were uncommon and forced by the female. There were 4.7 nests/couple, a value that is in the upper limit of what has been reported for large eagles. During the non-breeding season, nests were only occasionally visited by the eagles. Before laying, males visited the nest more frequently than females, but for shorter periods of time. Visits to alternative nests carrying prey and nest material were observed in all three couples. The average clutch size was 2.3 eggs (SD = 0.5, n = 6), with both males and females incubating, and hatching success was 100 %. Twenty five days after hatching, flight feathers started to appear in the wings and tail of chicks; after 35 days, chicks started eating by themselves prey items brought to the nest, and after 59 days they left the nest. While tending, females spent more time in the nest than males, although with a tendency of adults to diminish the time spent in the nest over time. Seventy nine percent of the chicks survived, which can be considered a high reproductive success, explained by the high availability of prey in the study site, mainly European rabbits. The chicks remained in the adult's territory for 10 months and gradually started to reduce their presence in the area. This was coincident with the occurrence of the next laying period and an increased adult intolerance. These data concur with the pattern described in the literature for other eagles

Keywords : eagle; Geranoaetus melanoleucus; behavior; breeding; central Chile.

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