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Eastern (or Asian) Imperial Eagle - Aquila heliaca
Eastern (or Asian) Imperial Eagle - Aquila heliaca

[Image: photo.jpg]

Kingdom: Animalia 
Phylum: Chordata 
Class: Aves 
Order: Falconiformes (or Accipitriformes, q.v.) 
Family: Accipitridae 
Genus: Aquila 

Size Length: 92 cm (2)
Wingspan: 214 cm (2)
Weight: 3 kg 

The Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is very similar to the Golden Eagle, but a little smaller (length 80 cm, wingspan 200 cm). It is not as powerful as its relative. This eagle belongs to the bird of prey family Accipitridae.

[Image: photo.jpg]

Imperial Eagles are distributed in South East Europe, West and Central Asia. The Spanish Imperial Eagle, found in Spain and Portugal, was formerly lumped with this species, the name Imperial Eagle being used in these circumstances; however the two are now regarded as separate species (Sangster et al., 2002) due to significant differences in morphology (Cramp & Simmons, 1980), ecology (Meyburg, 1994), and molecular characteristics (Seibold et al., 1996; Padilla et al., 1999).

[Image: photo.jpg]

In the winter this eagle migrates to Africa, India and China. In Europe, the Imperial Eagle is threatened with extinction. It has vanished from much of its former distribution area, e.g. Hungary and Austria.

The eagle's preferred habitat is open country with small woods; unlike some other eagles, it does not live in mountains, large forests or treeless steppes.

[Image: photo.jpg]

Male and female imperial eagles form monogamous pairs at around four years old and then stay together for life. They build a large nest, known as an eyrie, from sticks, at the top of a tall tree, and will return to this and a couple of other nests in rotation every year, making repairs as necessary. During the spring, the female lays between two and four eggs, which are incubated for 43 days by both parents, hatching from the end of May to the middle of June. The smallest hatchling is usually pecked or starved to death by its older, stronger sibling, which claims more of the adults' attention. The surviving nestling will learn to fly at around two months, but will stay at the nest for another few weeks, being fed by the female until it can hunt.

The imperial eagle usually hunts alone, targeting small mammals (mainly ground squirrels known as susliks (Spermophilus citellus)), reptiles, birds and carrion. They have excellent eyesight for spotting prey whilst gliding, but they may also steal the catch of other birds of prey, sometimes obtaining the majority of their food this way. 

[Image: photo.jpg] 
[Image: wildcat10-CougarHuntingDeer.jpg]
[-] The following 1 user Likes Taipan's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu
() quantity Observed in nests and Identified from pellets

Czech Republic: Capreolus capreolus (5), Cricetus cricetus (19), Lepus europaeus (45), Microtus arvalis (5), rabbit (domestic?) (1), small rodent (6), Erinaceus sp. (2), felis domesticus (3), Mustela erminea (1), Mustela nivalis (1), Martes sp. (1), Phasianus colchicus (10), Gallus domesticus (1), Turdus sp. (4), Sturnus vulgaris (2), Columba palumbus (1), Columba livia f. domestica (3), Falco tinnunculus (1), Strix aluco (1), Picus sp. (1), Rana (1).

Hungary: Anser domesticus, Pernis apivorus, Falco tinnunculus, Perdix perdix, Coturnix coturnix, M. Gallopavo, Streptopelia decaocto, Asio otus, Pica pica, Turdus merula (all of the above1), Buteo buteo (3), Ph. colchicu (71), Gallus domesticus (20), Columba domestica (12), Columba palumbus (9), turdus sp. (2), unidentified bird (2), Erinaceus europaeu (11), Lepus europaeus (73), C. citellus (45), Glis glis (1), Rattus sp. (1), Ondatra zibethica (9), C. cricetus (311), Microtus sp. (5), Canis domestica (1), vulpes vulpes (2), Felis domesticus (3), Sus scrofa (1), C. capreolus (11).

Bulgaria: lepus europaeus (26%), gallus gallus (21%), S. Citellus (10%), P. Perdix (10%), C. Ciconia (10%), N. Leucodon (4%), O. Apodus (4%), Others (15%).
[-] The following 1 user Likes Shenzi's post:
  • Claudiu Constantin Nicolaescu

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