The Iberian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos homeyeri) is a large bird of prey in the Accipitridae family of booted eagles because it has feathering over its legs. It is a sub-species of the Golden Eagle, which is one of the most common eagles in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a raptor and an accipiter.
The Iberian Golden Eagle is dark-brown with red-golden-brown, or light rusty, feathers on the back of its neck (nape). The nape feathers are short, and not crested. Its forehead and crown are dark-brownish.
It has some white markings on its long, strong wings. It has a blue-grey beak with a dark, sharply down-turned tip. Its beak has a beige-coloured cere. It has light-yellowish legs and feet with long black claws, called talons. It has orange-amber eyes.
Its wing length measures 55-70 centimetres (22-27 inches). It is smaller than the main species of the Golden Eagle.
The Iberian Golden Eagle is common across the Iberian Peninsula, and absent from Europe. It is also seen in northern African countries and in the Caucasus, mainly Turkey, and into Central Asia. 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 usually 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 Iberian 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 young will survive, and they will be able to fly after about 3 months.
The chicks have a white tail ending with a broad, black band, until they grow their adult feathers.
The Iberian Golden Eagle is fairly long-living 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