Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)


Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family:    Accipitridae
Size:    Length: 24 to 30 inches (61 to 78 cm) Wingspan: 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 3 m)
Weight: Up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg)
Diet: Termites, birds, eggs, reptiles, amphibians, locusts, small to medium-sized mammals, carrion
Distribution: Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa
Young:  1 to 3 
Animal Predators:  None
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Eaglet  Group: Aerie or convocation  Soaring group: Kettle
Lifespan: 34+ years in captivity 



·     The steppe eagle is featured on a stamp from the country of Azerbaijan.  

·     The scientific name Aquila is Latin for “eagle.”



Steppe eagles are chocolate brown in colour with a small ginger-coloured patch on the nape. They have light brown eyes and the tip of their bill is black, while the upper area, surrounding the nostrils, is yellow. Their feet are yellow with black claws. When in flight, the barring on the underside of their wings, as well as some white patches become visible. 



During warm months, these eagles range throughout western Europe to western Asia. In the winter, they fly south to nesting sites in the Middle East, Arabia and east Africa. They can often be seen in dry areas such as deserts. 


Feeding Habits

Steppe eagles eat a wide variety of prey, ranging from termites to medium-sized mammals. They prey on the eggs and nestlings of other birds and even catch birds such as flamingos, that are in flight. They feed on animals as small as mice and as large as young gazelles. Steppe eagles also eat carrion, amphibians, locusts and reptiles. 



Steppe eagles breed in their southern range between November and April. They find a mate when they reach the age of four. They usually build their nest high up in a tree, but will sometimes roost on the ground. They use sticks to build their nest and line it with grass and leaves. The pair reuse their nest for as many as three successive breeding seasons. The female lays her eggs one at a time, usually three days apart. She does most of the incubating of the eggs herself, sometimes leaving the nest to find food while the male guards the eggs. The chicks emerge from their shells in the order in which they were laid, approximately 39 days later. The male brings back food for the young, and the chicks acquire the feathers they need to begin to fly by 76 to 85 days.



Steppe eagles are sociable amongst their own species and can be seen flying in mixed flocks. Eagles soar by making use of rising currents of warm air that are called thermals. When they extend their long wings as they pass over a thermal, the eagles barely need to flap their wings at all. They especially make use of the thermals during long distance flights, to conserve energy.  



Steppe eagles are not a conservation concern at this time.