Home-range and behaviour of a fledgling Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides in the Australian Capital Territory

A juvenile Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides was radio-tagged and followed from the day it left the nest until it dispersed 12 weeks later. Two methods, minimum convex polygons (MCP) and kernel analysis, were used to estimate its home range. Home range increased in size progressively over the 12 weeks of the post-fledging period, from 0.001 km2 MCP and 0.007 km2 kernel in Wk 1 to 3.085 km2 MCP and 10.78 km2 kernel in Wk 12, as the juvenile moved gradually away from the nest tree. We also scored the presence or absence during each observation period of 11 juvenile and/or adult behaviours directly observed in the field relating to changes in the juvenile’s developing skills, parental provisioning, and interactions of the juvenile and adults with other species. Frequencies of these behaviours changed over the 12 wks of the post-fledging dependence period as the juvenile developed more adult-like behaviours and the adults spent less time with the juvenile. We acknowledge that this study reports observation of a single bird; although the estimates and trends of home ranges over time are valid, all interpretations and generalisations are limited and may not hold in a broader study. However, we regard the information presented as very useful for the creation of hypotheses in future studies on the ecology of this species.

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