Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Aquila nipalensis |
The Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is a large bird of prey. It is about 62-74 cm in length and has a wingspan of 165-190cm. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. It is closely related to the non-migratory Tawny Eagle, Aquila rapax, and the two forms are often considered conspecific.
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.
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.
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 rabbit, 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.
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