Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis breeds widely from Eastern Europe through Central Asia to the steppes of Mongolia, and winters in Africa and western Asia. It is currently considered Least Concern because of its large range and population; population trends are not well understood, but it is not thought to be declining by >30% over three generations (c. 50 years, based on an estimated generation length of 16.6 years).
New data collated from across Europe for the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015) indicate that the species has continued to decline, with losses in European Russia of >80% since 2000 and >90% since 1980. At regional level, it is therefore now considered to be Critically Endangered in Europe.
However, only around 10% of the species’ global breeding range occurs in Europe, so globally its status depends on trends in its Asian heartland, especially in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. When last discussed on this forum, a mixed pattern emerged, but overall it was felt that the species was not declining sufficiently rapidly to approach the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under criterion A (i.e. at least a 30% decline over ten years or three generations, whichever is longer).
Recent publications suggest that the species may be more at risk than previously assumed. For example, it was found to be the raptor most frequently electrocuted by power lines in a study in W Kazakhstan (Levin & Kurkin 2013). Additionally, tests on the carcasses of two individuals found at a cattle carcass dump in Rajasthan, India, showed evidence of the toxicity of diclofenac for this species (Sharma et al. 2014).
To reassess its global status, information is sought about its current population status and recent trends in its Central Asian breeding grounds, as well as its wintering grounds in S Asia, the Middle East and Africa, along with any additional information about the threats affecting this species across its range.
BirdLife International (2015) European Red List of Birds. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/info/euroredlist
Levin, A. S., & Kurkin, G. A. (2013) The Scope of Death of Eagles on Power Lines in Western Kazakhstan. Raptors Conservation 27: 240-244.
Sharma, A. K. et al. (2014) Diclofenac is toxic to the Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis: widening the diversity of raptors threatened by NSAID misuse in South Asia. Bird Conservation International 24: 282-286.
EDIT 27 July 2015:
Igor Karyakin and colleagues have provided a summary of modern population and trend estimates for Steppe Eagle, together with a list of recent references on the species- see attachment below. Combined totals from across the range are estimated at 75,780 (61,910-89,650) pairs in 1997-2011 and 31,372 (26,014-36,731) pairs in 2013-2015, with an apparent decline of 58.6%.
EDIT 4 August 2015:
Yoav Perlman and colleagues at Israel ornithological Center / Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel have provided a summary of Steppe Eagle status in Israel – see link below.