Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
Characteristics in Captivity
Like our other 'true eagle' (the Little Eagle) they have variable personalities. A few are very fiery and aggressive, but the majority feel so sorry for themselves they just want to hide. However, these guys are very big, and very powerful, with the potential to put you in hospital if you don't know what you are doing.
Once they have been moved into an enclosure, if you move quietly and calmly, they usually stay fairly calm. 'Wedgies' are intelligent, and usually figure out you aren't going to eat them. Because they are such solid, tough birds, when they injure themselves, they tend to do a really good job of it. This means they often come in with severe trauma injuries and take quite a while to recover, if they can be released at all.
Like most big birds, these guys take a while to mature. Young birds may be more reliant on easy food, such as carrion. Experienced adults can kill kangaroos (especially when a pair take turns harassing the 'roo). This is not their preferred prey, as there is a lot of potential for the eagle to be injured or for the 'roo to escape. Rabbits have become important (since feral animals have extirpated many medium sized mammals and reptiles), and the eagles have adapted to hunting them in open country. Eagles will also take feral fox and cat, and the occasional magpie that gets too close. Pairs have also been seen hunting black cockatoos.
Since Wedgies like carrion, many live along country roads. This puts them at great risk of becoming road victims themselves. In recent years, the rabbit Calici virus seems to have caused inland eagles to move coastwards due to lack of food. That means more eagles may be coming in contact with roads.
Mainly mammals, with a few large birds. Rabbit or portions of fairly fresh road killed kangaroo or reptile are ideal captive diets. Eagles will do well on any diet, but small animals like mice tend to be a bit ridiculous, as the eagle can eat 10 at a sitting easily!
Female : 3260 - 4536g. Male : 2100 - 2900g.