The rare eastern imperial eagle in the Aliakmonas Delta

Βασιλαετός _Θωμάς Νικολόπουλος

The eastern imperial eagle in the Aliakmonas Delta Thomas Nikolopoulos

A rare eastern imperial eagle chose the delta of the Aliakmonas river to overwinter this year, attracting the attention of birdwatchers who arrive in the area in order to watch and take pictures of the impressive bird of prey.

The eastern imperial eagle used to be in the past a rather rife species in Greece, breeding in the northern and central lowlands of the country, including Attiki, Thessaly and Akarnania. According to Wikipedia, until the first decades of the 20th century the species maintained healthy populations, as it was taking advantage of the traditional land uses, especially stockraising. This situation lasted until the 40’s when just the area around Thessaloniki -and mainly in the estuaries of the rivers Axios, Loudias and Aliakmonas- was hosting 25 couples.

Today, as far as Greece is concerned, the species is characterized as Critically Endangered. There are no signs of nesting across the country and, even winter sightings are rather rare. Only migratory populations –of young birds usually- can be seen, while some birds overwinter in large wetlands such as the Lake Kerkini, the Mesologi Lagoon and the Deltas of Kalamas, Evros and Axios.