Eastern Imperial Eagle

The Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca, from the family Accipitridae) is very similar to the Golden Eagle, only smaller and not as powerful. It measures 80 cm in length and has a wingspan of 200 cm.

Imperial Eagles are distributed in South East Europe, West and Central Asia. The Spanish Imperial Eagle, found in Spain and Portugal, was formerly lumped with this species, the name Imperial Eagle being used in these circumstances; however the two are now regarded as separate species.

In the winter this eagle migrates to Africa, India and China. In Europe, the Imperial Eagle is threatened with extinction. It has vanished from much of its former distribution area, such as Hungary and Austria. The monarchy of Austria-Hungary once chose the Imperial Eagle to be its heraldic animal however this didn’t help the bird.

Its preferred habitat is open country with small woods. The nest is built in trees, preferrably not surrounded by other trees, so these nests are visible from a long way off. This also allows the eagles to have a clear view of their surroundings. Tree branches are taken in order to build the nest, which is upholstered with grass and feathers.

In March or April the female lays 2-3 eggs. These eggs are incubated for 45 days. Often just one young will leave the nest, while the other(s) die before becoming fully-fledged.

This eagle feeds mainly on susliks (a kind of ground squirrel), and in addition on other rodents, martens, foxes and birds.