LIFE Project Cover Photo

Accomplish Western Mediterranean Bonelli's Eagle recovery by working together for an electricity grid suitable for birds

Reference: LIFE16 NAT/ES/000235 | Acronym: AQUILA a-LIFE



Between the 1970s and 1990s, Bonelli's eagle (Hieraaetus fasciatus) disappeared from Palencia, Leon, Soria, Segovia, Avila, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Mallorca, Sardinia and Calabria. Conservation efforts carried out over the last 20 years have not been as effective as expected and the species is almost extinct in Navarra, Álava and Burgos; though some pairs survive thanks to the LIFE BONELLI project (LIFE12 NAT/ES/000701). In addition, the progressive loss of its potential territory is still taking place in other areas such as Aragón, Castilla y León, and Castellón. In Italy, it faces extinction in 50 years.


AQUILA a-LIFE aims at increasing the occurrence of the Bonelli's eagle population in the western Mediterranean (the centre and north of the Iberian Peninsula and in Sardinia), and at reversing its current regressive population trend, by contributing to the restoration of the habitats where it once lived. The project proposes working for the recovery of the species over a broad geographical area at the meta-population level (rather than at the level of small local populations). Bird releases will enable the return of the species, while the project will also address threats to the species. This methodology has previously been effective in the LIFE BONELLI project. Therefore, further bird releases are planned where those previous results were positive (Madrid, Navarra, Álava), and the methodology will also be transferred to Sardinia. Therefore, this project can be considered as the second phase of LIFE BONELLI project, given that reintroduction and reinforcement projects often require several stages of implementation.

The project has the following specific objectives:

  • To reduce the risk that Bonelli's eagle and other bird species die as a result of electrocution in their natural habitat, both inside and outside protected areas;
  • To conduct a thorough assessment of the conservation status of the Mediterranean meta-population of Bonelli's eagle, and the effectiveness of the recovery measures implemented;
  • To involve all sectors, particularly hunting, in the recovery and management of Bonelli's eagle, to increase acceptance of the species;
  • To assess the impact of the reintroduction of a top-level predator, such as the Bonelli’s eagle, on the ecosystem functions on a Mediterranean island;
  • To reduce the risk of Bonelli's eagle or other birds dying by drowning in artificial ponds or by colliding with wires in espaliered vineyards;
  • To increase the competitiveness of Bonelli's eagle against the golden eagle in its historical breeding territories; and
  • To increase society's respect towards Bonelli's eagle in particular and towards raptors in general.
  • Expected results:

  • Release of 25 individuals in Sardinia and 75 in the Iberian Peninsula (Madrid, Álava and Navarra), where there are already 10 to 15 new Bonelli's eagle pairs (including Mallorca);
  • Proposed recommendations and measures to solve the problem of bird electrocution in Spain in the White Paper format, with at least 480 electricity power line pylons retrofitted;
  • Updated European action plan for the Bonelli's eagle;
  • Establishment of partnerships with hunters and relevant stakeholders in Alava, Mallorca and Navarra in order to increase Bonelli's eagle survival;
  • Floating structures for birds in 200 irrigation ponds in Mallorca, and three cattle pond escape routes for wildlife in Navarra;
  • A type of strap promoted as an alternative to wire in espaliered (supported/trained) vines in Mallorca and Álava, with practical sessions and a demonstration installation on 1 ha of vines in Álava;
  • Three supplementary feeding points for Bonelli's eagle, and 20 ha cleared with installation of rabbit burrows in Navarra and Álava as a prey source;
  • Raising awareness about the project and replication of the eagle’s reinforcement/ reintroduction in other places.


    Reference: LIFE16 NAT/ES/000235
    Acronym: AQUILA a-LIFE
    Start Date: 01/10/2017
    End Date: 30/09/2022
    Total Eligible Budget: 4,752,383 €
    EU Contribution: 3,440,993 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Grupo para la Rehabilitacin de la Fauna Autctona y su Hbitat
    Legal Status: PNC
    Address: Monte del Pilar S/N, ES-28220, Majadahonda, España
    Contact Person: Manuel GALÁN
    Email: Send Email
    Website: Visit Website

    LIFE Project Map



    • Birds


    • introduction of animal species
    • electrical industry
    • rural development
    • population dynamics


    • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
    • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)


    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)


    • Hieraaetus fasciatus


    Type Code Name
    SPA ES0000056 Encinares del río Alberche y río Cofio
    SPA ES0000089 Valle del Tiétar y embalses de Rosarito y Navalcán (DEPRECATED)
    SPA ES0000150 Peña de Etxauri
    SPA ES0000151 Caparreta
    SPA ITB044009 Foresta di Monte Arcosu
    SPA ES0000073 Costa Brava de Mallorca
    SPA ES0000184 Valle del Tiétar - ZEPA
    SPA ES0000185 Cerro de Guisando - ZEPA
    SPA ES0000186 Pinares del Bajo Alberche - ZEPA
    SCI ES2200022 Sierra de Lokiz
    SCI ES2200029 Sierra de Codés
    SCI ES2200030 Tramo medio del río Aragón
    SCI ES3110004 Cuenca del río Manzanares
    SCI ES3110005 Cuenca del río Guadarrama
    SCI ES3110006 Vegas, cuestas y páramos del sureste de Madrid
    SCI ES3110007 Cuencas de los ríos Alberche y Cofio
    SCI ES4240018 Sierra de Altomira
    SCI ES4250001 Sierra de San Vicente y valles del Tiétar y Alberche
    SCI ES4250009 Yesares del valle del Tajo
    SCI ES5310008 Es Galatzó - s'Esclop
    SPA ES5310009 Es Teix
    SPA ES0000169 Río Tajo en Castrejón, islas de Malpica de Tajo y Azután
    SPA ES0000246 Arabako Hegoaldeko Mendilerroak / Sierras Meridionales de Álava (DEPRECATED)
    SCI ES4110113 Cerro de Guisando
    SCI ES4110114 Pinares del Bajo Alberche
    SCI ES4110115 Valle del Tiétar
    SPA ES0000441 D'Alfabia a Biniarroi
    SPA ES2110019 Izki
    SPA ITB023037 Costa e Entroterra di Bosa, Suni e Montresta
    SPA ITB020014 Golfo di Orosei
    SPA ITB021103 Monti del Gennargentu
    SPA ITB022212 Supramonte di Oliena, Orgosolo e Urzulei - Su Sercone
    SCI ES2110018 Arabako hegoaldeko mendilerroak / Sierras meridionales de Álava
    SCI ES2110022 Entzia
    SCI ES5310090 Puig d'Alaró - Puig de s'Alcadena
    SCI ES5310101 Randa
    SPA ITB013018 Capo Figari, Cala Sabina, Punta Canigione e Isola Figarolo
    SPA ITB013044 Capo Caccia
    SPA ITB023049 Monte Ortobene
    SPA ITB023051 Altopiano di Abbasanta
    SPA ITB043055 Monte dei Sette Fratelli
    SPA ES0000482 Arbaiun-Leire


    Name Type
    Grupo para la Rehabilitacin de la Fauna Autctona y su Hbitat Coordinator
    Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, France Participant
    Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e Ricerca Ambientale, Italy Participant
    Diputación Foral de Álava – Arabako Foru Aldundia, Spain Participant
    Gestión Ambiental de Navarra S.A., Spain Participant
    Fundació Natura Parc, Spain Participant