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Reyes; 2008

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The Vanishing Monkey-eating Eagle
Published by Leo Reyes
June 25, 2008, Category: Zoology

This is about the Monkey-Eating Eagle of the Philippines. Its population is dwindling rapidly and conservationists are working overtime to prevent its extinction.
The Monkey-Eating Eagle of the Philippines is endangered. This vanishing specie is the Philippines’ National Bird and in danger of being extinct.
The Monkey-Eating Eagle is considered as one of the largest and most powerful Eagles in the world. It is found only in the Philippines. When it was discovered in 1896, the natives call the bird “Monkey-Eating Eagle” because it preyed on monkeys that abound then in Philippine forest particularly in the islands Mindanao and Luzon. [1] It has a very small population which may be traced to the fact that they only lay one egg at a time. It is believed that Philippine Eagle has a life span of 30 to 40 years.

Breeding Cycle

Like most humans, the Philippine Eagles are [2] monogamous and they generally bond for life. Courtship starts when they manifest an increased aerial display coupled with the nest building activity. They are also observed to be staying near their nesting place more often as part of their courtship ritual. These are some signs that courtship is in progress. Repeated copulation that takes place in the nest and nearby places would mark the peak of courtship. [3Egg-laying season normally starts in September up to February the following year. Studies show that when egg-laying draws near, the female would tend to be sickly and would not eat for as long as 10days but consumes a lot of water and continues to fix her nest. Thereafter the female lays just one egg usually in the afternoon. After egg-laying, incubation immediately takes palace. Incubation takes 58-68 days. Both the male and female incubate the egg with the female doing more incubation while the male looks for food. [4] Once the egg is hatched, the eaglet will stay in the nest for about five and a half months. The parents will take care of the eaglet for 17 months until it leaves the territory to look for a vacant habitat.
The [5] table below summarizes the patterns of juvenile development of the Eagle.
Age when the head is held up 7-10 days
Stood momentarily 25-27 days
First wing flapping 32 days
First pin feathers appear in scapulars 37 days
Walking 45 days
First eating by itself 54 days
First time off nest 118-151 days
Fledged (departed nest tree) 130-164 days
Started to wander from nest area 246-288 days
First observed kill 304 days
Last seen in parent’s home range 640 days

Source: Phil. Eagle Foundation
The Philippine Eagle means so many things to Filipinos. To some, it symbolizes power and supremacy. To others, it serves as a barometer for natural and environmental degradation and preservation.
[7] Philippine Monkey-Eating Eagles are found mostly in the rainforests of Mindanao and some parts of Luzon Island.

Read more in Zoology
« Bats of the PhilippinesThe Importance of Komodo Dragons »
[6] Forest destruction caused by shifting usage of land for agricultural production and commercial development has contributed to the dwindling population of the Philippine Eagle. Other threats are commercial logging, forest fires, hunting and other forms of forest destruction by some unscrupulous segment of the population.
Because of the Eagle’s dwindling population and due to its adoption as the National Bird, the Philippine government has encouraged and supported the preservation of the Eagle by the private sector. Towards this end, the Philippine Eagle Foundation has been set up, primarily to develop and pursue a comprehensive approach to prevent its imminent extinction. The Foundation is engaging in research, off-site and on-site protection, public education and other community-based efforts to promote grater understanding of the bird and its habitat. The Foundation in fact has been successfully breeding Eagles in captivity for over 10 years now. It has also conducted experimental release of captive-bred eagle to the wild. There have been more than 20 eagles bred in captivity at the Philippine Eagle Center in Davao, Philippines. It is estimated that there are only about 500 pairs of this rare national bird in the entire country today.
With the government and the private sector working hand in hand, the National Bird of the Philippines, will not only survive but will continue to multiply and soar over Philippine sky for the next generation to witness and enjoy.

Read more: http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/the-vanishing-monkey-eating-eagle/#ixzz1qcA4DMd3
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