What is the difference between the Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle?

What is the difference between the Asian Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea), the Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), and the Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)?

The Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle are all large birds of prey, raptors, and accipiters from the Northern Hemisphere.

The Asian Golden Eagle, the Eastern Imperial Eagle, and the Steppe Eagle all have a dark-grey or black-tipped sharply down-turned beak with a yellow cere (the hard substance at the top of the beak).

The difference between them is mainly due to size, colour, and flight.

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Asian Golden Eagle

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.

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Eastern Imperial Eagle

The Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is a large bird of prey. It is a raptor and an accipiter.

The Eastern Imperial Eagle is dark-brown with white shoulder patches and pale-cream feathers at the back of its neck. It has a grey base to its bi-coloured tail. It has grey legs with large claws, called talons. Its eyes are brown and its beak is sharply-hooked and grey with a yellow cere.

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Violet-Backed Starling

The Violet-Backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) is a small bird. It is also called the Plum-Coloured Starling or the Amethyst Starling.

The male and female Violet-Backed Starling have very different appearances. The male has an iridescent violet-coloured back with a white underbelly. The female is brown with flecks on her white underbelly. The male has a dark-violet-black face. Both have a dark-grey beak and dark-grey legs. Both have yellow eyes with dark pupils.

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Andean Condor

The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a large South American bird in the Vulture family. It is a raptor and bird of prey.

The Andean Condor is black with a white ruff (collar) around its neck. Its face and neck are pinkish-red and nearly bald. Females have a bald blackish-red head and neck. It has a flattened head. Males have a dark carbuncle or comb on their head. It has white feathers on its wings. Its pale cream beak is strong with a slightly downward-curved hook, and its eyes are orange-brown. It has long sharp talons on its feet to grip its prey.

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Fallacy: Ostriches bury their heads in the sand

Ostriches bury their heads in the sand. This is not true. It is a fallacy.

When ostriches are alarmed, they do not bury their heads in the sand, but they lie low and press their long necks down on the ground. This is because they are trying to hide from their predators, or to be less visible and not so prominent (large).

From a distance, it might look as if they have buried their heads in the sand, but they haven’t.

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Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill

The Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill (Bycanistes brevis) is a large African bird with a huge beak.

The Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill has iridescent black feathers with a silvery-grey head, and silvery spots on its cheeks. It has a white rump, white lower back, and white tips on its tail feathers. It has a large cream-coloured casque (bony growth) on its beak. It has dark eyes, and females have red skin around their eyes.

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Common Redstart

The Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) is a small bird. Redstart means red tail.

The Common Redstart is grey with a white forehead and a black throat. Its wings and two central tail feathers are brown, whereas the other tail feathers are orange-red. It has orange on its sides and a white belly. Its beak and legs are black. It has a pale eye-ring.

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