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Eagles are awe-inspiring birds that have influenced much human endeavour. Australia is home to three eagle species, and in Melanesia there are four additional endemic species. A further three large Australian hawks are eagle-like. Eagles, being at the top of the food chain, are sensitive ecological barometers of human impact on the Earth's ecosystem services, and all of the six Australian species covered in Australasian Eagles and Eagle-Like Birds are threatened in at least some states (one also nationally). Three of the four Melanesian tropical forest endemics are threatened or near-threatened.
In Australasian Eagles and Eagle-Like Birds, Dr Stephen Debus provides a 25-year update of knowledge on these 10 species as a supplement to the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB) and recent global treatises, based partly on his own field studies. Included are the first nest or prey records for some Melanesian species. Australasian Eagles and Eagle-Like Birds places the Australasian species in their regional and global context, reviews their population status and threats, provides new information on their ecology, and suggests what needs to be done in order to ensure the future of these magnificent birds.
Australasian Eagles and Eagle-like Birds is an invaluable resource for raptor biologists, birdwatchers, wildlife rescuers and carers, raptor rehabilitators and zookeepers.
Part I – Sea-eagles
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Sanford’s Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus sanfordi
Part II – Harpy eagles
New Guinea Harpy Eagle Harpyopsis novaeguineae
Part III – Booted eagles
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax
Gurney’s Eagle Aquila gurneyi
Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides
Pygmy Eagle Hieraaetus weiskei
Part IV – Australian eagle-like hawks
Black-breasted Buzzard Hamirostra melanosternon
Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura
Red Goshawk Erythrotriochis radiatus
Other sources of information
Appendix: Scientific names of other Australian raptors
Stephen Debus has undertaken research on and written about raptors for nearly 35 years. He completed a PhD and postdoctoral research in Zoology, on declining woodland birds. He now works as an ecological consultant and is an honorary research associate at the University of New England. In 2015, he was awarded BirdLife Australia's D.L. Serventy Medal for ornithological publication, recognising his role as Australia's longest serving ornithological editor and contributions to the field, including over 130 papers, the Whitley Award-winning Birds of Prey of Australia: A Field Guide, 2nd edition, and work on the raptor sections of the Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds, Volume 2.
"[...] The organization of the text is crystal-clear and well referenced. I would have liked more extensive details (sample sizes, periods of sampling), but after checking several primary sources I was surprised to see that such data were also lacking in the original source [...] the book is the perfect manual for those willing to contribute something useful to the knowledge of Australasian raptors."
– Rob G. Bijlsma, Ibis 160, 2018
"Australasian Eagles and Eagle-like Birds is a fascinating summary of our understanding of these charismatic species and collects the up-to-date publications describing their lives in one reference [...] It is a simultaneously highly readable, thoroughly enjoyable and authoritative monograph of some of the most captivating animals in Australasian skies. It's the first such comprehensive book on these fauna since HANZAB in 1993 and features arresting colour photographs portraying some rarely seen behaviours. I commend it to every reader who is interested in furthering their understanding of our large birds of prey."
– Chris Watson, The Grip (blog), 2/8/17