Large birds

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"Lord of the air, drawing majestic circles around the tallest peaks in the mountain range, observing the golden eagle (or “royal eagle” in Spanish) is truly fascinating. It rarely deigns to drop down to the plain, condescending to do so only with its mate. In broad, calm flight, three species of vultures also circle above: Vulture monachus, Gyps fulvus and Neophron percnopterus, the latter called milana by Mallorcans. All of them are quite common, so much so that seeing them barely elicits any curiosity, at least in the island’s mountainous areas where their presence has become habitual. We could say that their lives are akin to those of hermits in the peaks, occasionally descending in large armies tempted by the carrion of some dead animal on the plain.

We discover they are accompanied by the kites, Milvus regalis and M. ater, which, with their agile flights, like singular acrobats, weave unbelievable and complicated arabesques. They are also native to the island, and we find them everywhere, both in the most remote peaks as well as in the depths of hidden valleys. All in all, their preference seems to be for sunny slopes, flying above untiringly from dawn until dusk in search of prey.

The voice of the crow announces the first grays of the new day, spreading the news heard everywhere throughout the year, while carrion crows and rooks are rather rare species here.

Especially worth noting are the partridges, here called perdius or cama-roges (“red legs”), and which we find here every season of the year, forming large flocks which quickly take flight at the merest hint of human presence. The same is true of the common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), exclusively inhabiting the most inaccessible holes in abrupt rocky walls or thick glades amongst aged Holm oaks. At times they are chased by the frightful falcon, in particular the Falco peregrinus, the most common species on the island and whose steely claws pigeons attempt to escape by dizzying breaks in their quick flights."

Archduke Ludwig Salvator of Austria. Las Baleares por la palabra y el grabado. Majorca: General Part. Ed. Sa Nostra, Caja de Baleares. Palma de Mallorca. 1982.


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