Third International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences

Preliminary Findings into Current State of Breeding Population of Golden Eagle in Armenia

Harutyunyan L.A., Aghadjanyan L.A. (The branch of German Nature Protection Union (NABU) in the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia)

Levon Harutyunyan
Lusine Aghadjanyan
Recommended citation: Harutyunyan L.A., Aghadjanyan L.A. Preliminary Findings into Current State of Breeding Population of Golden Eagle in Armenia. – Raptors Conservation. 2023. S2: 17–19. DOI: 10.19074/1814-8654-2023-2-17-19 URL:

The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) has one of the largest distributions of all eagles. The subspecies Aquila chrysaetos homeyeri occurs in the Republic of Armenia, country in the South Caucasus region, where it is recognized as a year-round resident and included in the Red Book of Animals of The Republic of Armenia as a “Vulnerable” (VU D1) species. However, in Armenia the state of the species population and abundance has been studied extremely poorly, which makes it difficult to organize its effective conservation without trustworthy data. There is only fragmentary, scattered information about the finds of nest sites or only about the locations where individuals were observed. In the 1990’s, in the South Caucasus, at least 75–100 breeding pairs were known, nevertheless, there is no exact data on Golden Eagles in Armenia. Various estimations were done for the species in the early 2000’s, varying between 20–80 breeding pairs. According to the Red Book of Animals of RA, published in 2010, the population of the Golden Eagle consists of 34–38 breeding pairs.

Additionally, during our recent sporadic field studies of raptor species we did not observe nesting activities in many previously known Golden Eagle breeding territories. Hence, in order to understand the status and to clarify all the uncertainties, in 2023 we began targeted research on the Golden Eagle breeding population in the Republic of Armenia. During the short period, lasting from early March to mid-July, we managed to study most of suitable breeding habitats in Ararat, Vayots dzor, and Lori regions, and parts of Tavush, Kotayq, Shirak, and Aragatsotn regions (seven out of ten regions of RA). Following our study design, we checked known literature data in the field and reported breeding territories, as well as suitable habitats derived from preliminary GIS modelling. In the field we used 20–60×60 spotting scopes, 10×42 binoculars, and drone.

According to preliminary results, during the first year of studies, only four confirmed active nests were located, of which three pairs had successful breeding (three nestlings fledged in the beginning of July), and one nest probably failed. Additionally, one nest was found renovated with green branches, however, birds were not seen in the nest (one adult bird was observed few kilometers away from the breeding territory). Two nests were located in Vayots dzor region, one in Ararat region, and one in Lori region. In addition, 19 non-occupied nests were found, mainly at a large distance from found active nests. Eleven non-occupied nests were found in Vayots dzor region, three in Lori region, two in Kotayk region, two in Ararat region, and finally one in Shirak region. Almost all abandoned nests were located in areas with various extent of anthropogenic activity (roads, pastures, settlements, etc.).

The ongoing project is carried out in the framework of the project “Birds of prey research and conservation” of the branch of German Nature Protection Union (NABU) in the Republic of Armenia.