All posts by Markus Jais

New publication about Hen Harrier identification

Bird watcher Gerold Dobler has published a new manual about the identification of Hen Harriers. The focus is on ageing and sexing.

The publication is available in both German an  English.

English cover:

German cover:

The German publication is distributed with the current (June 2020) issue of Vögel Magazin. Details can be found here: Kornweihe –  Alters- und Geschlechtsbestimmung.

The  English publication is distributed with the July issue of British Birds.

New Spanish book about all European raptors

Spanish raptor experts Alex Ollé and Fran Trablón have published a new Spanish book called Aves Rapaces de Europa. It covers all European raptors including rare visitors like the Rüppell‘s Vulture. The book is a great companion to books like Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by Dick Forsman.

The Spanish book by Alex and Fran covers not only identification but also biology, migration and conservation. The pictures in the book are mostly very good and show the details of many different plumages. The text is very well written and easy to read. At the end is a long list of literature about raptors.

Besides an introduction and the species account, there are (ad the end of the book) many plates with photographs of similar species which are of great help when seeing difficult species in the field.

The book is completely in Spanish but with bird names also in English, German French and other languages used in Spain like Basque, Galician and Catalan.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interesting in European raptors.

And if you’ve always thought about learning Spanish (it’s not that hard!), now there is a very good reason to finally get started!

The author’s have also published (in 2017) a book about the raptors of Catalonia called Guia de rapinyaires de Catalunya. I do not own or know this book (and I cannot read the language although it’s similar to Spanish) but it has received some very good reviews as well.



Raptor conservation online survey

Raptor researchers Santiago Zuluaga Ph.D(s) and Juan M. Grande PhD. have started an online survey about raptor conservation.

They write:

“We are working in a general study to assess the viewpoints of raptor researchers about raptor conservation across the world.

We would like to ask you to fill out an online survey. It will take you a few minutes but we think the results may help us to focus on different aspects of raptor conservation worldwide. Please, we also encourage you to share it with other researchers that could be interested in the topic.

We divided the survey in four, one focused on Old World and New World vultures, one focused on the remaining Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, Kites, Harriers, etc.), another is focused on Falconids (Falcons and Caracaras), and finally one focused on owls. All four surveys are very similar but have small differences. We suggest you complete the ones of the groups that you know better, but if you work with different groups and want to complete more than one group it’s ok.”

The surveys are:

Old World and New World vultures
Hawks and eagles

If you’re a researcher or work in conservation, you can fill out these forms until December 1st.

American Eagle Foundation announces international eagle grants

The American Eagle Foundation is proud to announce that starting July1, 2018, we will be accepting proposals for our first ever, International Eagle Grants. The American Eagle
Foundation’s International Eagle Grants program will be targeted at funding research and conservation for eagle species in developing, underserved areas. The grants will help to promote research and conservation focused on eagles, and award decisions will be made based on a combination of quality of the proposal and the proposed project, the conservation status of the species, the urgency of the need for the project, and the qualifications of the applicants. Up to $10,000 in grants will be available with grant requests of $500 to $5,000 considered.

The AEF International Eagle Grants Program will be discharged in a manner similar to our Bald Eagle Grants program. For more information on this program, see our website at . To date, the American Eagle Foundation has awarded over $600,000 in grants to help to further our understanding and conservation of the Bald Eagle. Grants were first awarded in 2012, with about $100,000 awarded yearly (no awards were granted for 2013).

The American Eagle Foundation uses a Bald Eagle Grant Advisory Team to numerically rank all grant applications. This team consists of some of the Nation's outstanding eagle experts and will be the same team used to rank proposals for the AEF International Eagle Grants Program.

The American Eagle Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to protect and preserve the United States’ living symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey. The American Eagle Foundation is celebrating its 32nd year of carrying out its mission through Preservation, Repopulation, Education, and Rehabilitation. It is headquartered in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at Dollywood Family Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The American Eagle Foundation International Eagle Program will accept applications July 1 – September 1, 2018 for grants, beginning the next calendar year. Names of successful applicants and their projects will be shared at the Raptor Research Foundation Annual Conference for 2018, to be held in Skukuza, South Africa.

If you are interested in applying for an AEF International Eagle Grant, contact grant coordinator Jody Millar to access required forms.

New book about the raptors of Italy


A new book, written in Italian, has recently been published about the raptors of Italy.

It is called Rapaci d’Italia and is written by Federico Cauli e Fulvio Genero.

It covers all raptor species of Italiy, their biology and status.

More information in Italian can be found here on the publishers website:

Rapaci d’Italia

The contact information (email) for ordering the book can be found here: Contatti

Make sure to also read an interview I published a few years ago with Fulivo Genero, one of the authors.

Interview with Fulvio Genero about vultures in Italy


New Spanish monograph about Booted Eagles published

Tundra Ediciones has recently announced a new monograph about the Booted Eagle, written by Spanish researcher Ignacio Santiago García Dios. See the author’s blog about the Booted Eagle .

The book has 558 pages and will be available on November 20th.
It covers taxonomy, distribution, breeding behaviour, diet, conservation and more.
It is the only up-to-date monograph on the species and with more than 550 pages it covers everything in great detail.

More information about the book and how to order it can be found here:
El Águila Calzada

A must for everyone interested in the species.

New LIFE project for the Eastern Imperial Eagle

Birdlife International announced a new LIFE project for the Eastern Imperial Eagle in Hungary, Austria, Serbia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The project aims to reduce persecution, improve habitat and guard nests.

It is hoped to increase the current population of 220 pairs in those countries to 250 pairs by 2021.

A very important project for these amazing eagles. The measures, particularly reducing persecution, will also benefit other species like the White-tailed Eagle.

More information from Birdlife International:
Raising the Eagle Standard

Successful breeding of Pallid Harriers in the Netherlands

The Pallid Harrier is a rare species in Europa and regularly only breeds in Ukraine and Russia.

In 2017 a pair has successfully nested in the Netherlands and raised 4 young (all females).

This is the first successful breeding of a Pallid Harrier in Western Europe.

It will be interesting to see if the birds return next year and if other birds join them or if this was an single and local event.

More information incl. a video can be found on Mark Avery’s blog:
Pallid Harriers nest successfully in The Netherlands

New book: A Fieldworker’s Guide to the Golden Eagle

In this new book about the Golden Eagle, the author describes his experience of decades of watching Golden Eagles in the UK. In great detail he explains what he has seen and why he thinks that existing knowledge of Golden Eagles often does not show the complete picture.

The book covers the behaviour and the activities of Golden Eagles throughout the year and explains what people studying Golden Eagles should keep in mind when seeing (or not seeing) the birds and how to interpret their observations.

The book explains how hard it often is to interpret the behaviour of the eagles when seen in the field and questions existing knowledge about the species.

Often the “Fieldworker’s Guide to the Golden Eagle” is about the personal experience and opinion of the author. There is of course nothing wrong with that but I would have preferred more scientific references and a more scientific writing style.

Overall this is an interesting addition to your library if you study Golden Eagles, particularly in the UK. But make sure to read other, more scientific books and publications as well, in order to get a more complete picture of Golden Eagle ecology.

Publisher’s Website about the book:
A Fieldworker’s Guide to the Golden Eagle ,

Another review about the book can be found on the BTO’s website.

Make sure to read Jeff Watson’s book on Golden Eagles:
The 2nd edition of Jeff Watson’s book (2010) is (by far) the most comprehensive book on Golden Eagles published so far and the one book that you must have to understand the Golden Eagle. It has many scientific references and, although also with a focus on the UK, it also describes Golden Eagle studies across its range and also compares the Golden Eagle with other Aquilla eagles like the Eastern Imperial Eagle or the Wedge-tailed Eagle.

A review of Jeff Watson’s book by Ian Carter can be found here:
The Golden Eagle (2nd edn), by Jeff Watson