Steppe Eagle Information

The Steppe Eagle, is a large bird of prey. It is about 62–81 cm (24-32 in) in length and has a wingspan of 165-200 cm (65-79 in). Females, weighing 2.3-4.9 kg (5-10.8 lbs), are slightly larger than males, at 2-3.5 kg (4.4-7.7 lbs). Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. It was once considered to be closely related to the non-migratory Tawny Eagle, Aquila rapax, and the two forms have previously been treated as conspecific. They were split based on pronounced differences in morphology and anatomy (Clark, 1992; Olson, 1994; Sangsteret al., 2002); molecular analysis indicates that these birds are not even each other's closest relatives.

The Steppe Eagle breeds from Romania east through the south Russian and Central Asian steppes to Mongolia. The European and Central Asian birds winter in Africa, and the eastern birds in India. It lays 1-3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree. Throughout its range it favours open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, or savannah.

This is a large eagle with brown upperparts and blackish flight feathers and tail. This species is larger and darker than the Tawny Eagle, and it has a pale throat which is lacking in that species.

Immature birds are less contrasted than adults, but both show a range of variation in plumage colour. The eastern race A. n. nipalensis is larger and darker than the European and Central Asian A. n. orientalis.

Large numbers are seen at certain places such as Khare in Nepal during migration. As many as 15.3 birds per hour during October and November have been noted.

The Steppe Eagle's diet is largely fresh carrion of all kinds, but it will kill rodents and other small mammals up to the size of a hare, and birds up to the size of partridges. It will also steal food from other raptors.

The call of the Steppe Eagle is a crow-like barking, but it is rather a silent bird except in display.

The Steppe Eagle is the national animal of Egypt. It is also the national bird of Kazakhstan and can be seen on the Flag of Kazakhstan.



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