The Asian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea) is a large bird of prey, and one of the most common. It is a raptor and an accipiter. It is also called the Himalayan Golden Eagle or the Berkut.
The Asian Golden Eagle is dark-brown with red-golden-brown feathers on the back of its neck. It is blackish on its back. It has white on its tail and some white markings on its long, strong wings. It has a grey beak with a dark, sharply down-turned tip. Its beak has a yellow cere. It has grey legs, and grey feet with long claws.
It measures 66-102 centimetres (26-40 inches) in length. Its large wingspan is about 221 centimetres (87 inches) across.
The Asian Golden Eagle is widespread in Kazahstan, Iran, and the Caucasus region. It also lives in the Himalayan mountains, from Pakistan to Bhutan. It prefers open grasslands, as well as forested regions.
It is an excellent flier. It flies with slightly up-turned V-shaped wings (this is called dihedral flight). It can glide very fast, reaching speeds of 190 kilometres per hour (120 miles per hour). When it dives to capture its prey, it can reach speeds of 240 kilometres per hour (150 miles per hour).
It is territorial. It is diurnal, and hunts during the day. It eats hares, rabbits, squirrels, and other mammals. It captures its prey in its long, strong claws, called talons.
It is residential. It does not need to migrate to warmer regions, because it likes cold locations. However, it sometimes migrates to look for food. it This is called partial migration. If it migrates, it travels south.
The Asian Golden Eagle mates for life. It builds a nest on a cliff ledge or other high location. Females lay 1- 4 eggs, which hatch after 6 weeks. One or two will survive, and they will be able to fly after about 3 months.
Golden eagles are fairly long-living birds in natural conditions. The average life expectancy is 13-20 years.
[Location of photographs: Tbilisi Zoo, Georgia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM