Steppe Eagle

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Description:
The Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is a 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); two molecular studies, each based on a very small number of genes, indicate that the species are distinct but disagree over how closely related they are.

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.

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