Tawny Eagle

The Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) is a large bird of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. It measures roughly 62-72 cm in length and has a wingspan of 165-185 cm. It was once considered to be closely related to the migratory Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) and the two forms were considered to be conspecific. However, DNA studies have now shown that these two birds are not even closely related.

It breeds throughout most of Africa both north and south of the Sahara Desert and across tropical southernwestern Asia to India. Throughout this range it favors open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, or savannah. It lays 1-3 eggs in a stick nest in a tree, crag or on the ground.

This large eagle has tawny upperparts and blackish flight feathers and tail. The lower back is very pale. This species is smaller and paler than the Steppe Eagle, although it does not share that species’ pale throat.

Immature birds are less contrasted than adults, but both show a range of variation in plumage color.

The Tawny Eagle prefers mostly fresh carrion of all kinds however it will sometimes kill small mammals up to the size of a rabbit, reptiles and birds up to the size of guineafowl. It is also an opportunistic feeder and will steal food from other raptors when available.

The call of the Tawny Eagle is a crow-like barking, but it is rather a silent bird except in display.