We explain what an eagle is, what its proportions are like and the habitat where it lives. Also, what are its characteristics and classification.
What is an Eagle?
Eagle is the common name given to different species of large predatory or prey birds , related to the family Accipitridae or accipitriformes, formerly called falconiformes.
Eagles are the most powerful birds known , capable of taking flight with heavy prey in their talons and possessing extremely acute eyesight that allows them to spot prey from a distance.
This has given them importance and power in the eyes of the human being within their food niche: they are usually considered the queen of birds .
Eagles can vary in size and build depending on the species , but they are usually large birds with fierce behavior and massive bodies, capable of taking flight quickly from any point.
Their heads are large and with their strong beaks they can tear the raw meat of their prey. A good-sized eagle can weigh 7 or 8 kg or more and be about 95 cm tall. In all species, however, the female is larger than the male.
Eagles can be found on any of the five continents , except Antarctica , adapting very well to the climatic and biotic conditions of each region.
Most of the species inhabit Europe , Asia and Africa , with just 3 of them in Australia , 2 in North America and 9 in the rest of America .
Eagles are excellent predators , although they may eventually turn to carrion for subsistence. They are carnivorous and their hunting habits are different from those of other species of birds of prey, since the eagles do not have to worry about being predated (they are at the top of the trophic pyramid) and can hunt with complete peace of mind.
In this they are greatly helped by their prodigious eyesight (more than 3 times that of humans), capable of seeing their prey almost 2 km away, as well as their tenacious claws and strong, sharp beak.
Their favorite prey are, depending on their size and their habitat, small rodents, lizards or lizards , snakes , other smaller birds , fish , etc.
Eagle wing length
Depending on the species, the wingspan of an eagle can reach amazing dimensions of more than two meters in length , especially when flying, when it keeps them immobile, firm, like the sails of a boat in strong winds.
The reproduction of the eagles occurs, as in all birds by internal fertilization, after copulation . Then the female lays two eggs in a previously built nest.
Of the two chicks that are born, only one survives , because the first one that is born and feeds is stronger and displaces the other, without the parents intervening in it.
Parental care will last about a year and a half, after which time the young must leave the nest. The eagles are monogamous and year after year they repair their nest , usually built high up and made up of sticks, branches and soft materials for the interior. These nests can get really heavy.
How long does an eagle live?
The longevity of the eagle ranges on average between 14 and 25 years , since it lacks natural predators. The bulkier species tend to live longer.
The flight of the eagle is powerful, imposing, capable of reaching speeds of around 240 to 300 kilometers per hour (one of the highest speeds of all flying creatures).
In addition, given its powerful muscles and large wings, the eagle can stay in flight for longer than many other birds, and this allows it to reach heights of even more than 7,000 meters above sea level.
The eagle in culture
The eagle has been for humanity, in different geographies, a symbol of power, nobility, purity, virtue and beauty . For this reason it is frequently found on flags, coats of arms, statues and coins, as well as the emblem of contemporary products or sports teams. Just to mention a few examples:
- It crowned the temples to Jupiter in the Old Roman Empire .
- The double-headed eagle was the banner of Emperor Carlos I of Spain .
- It is one of the symbols of medieval alchemy .
- The bald eagle is a symbol of the United States.
Eagle preservation status
Many species of eagle are currently in danger of extinction , due to indiscriminate logging and the damage that human industries cause in their native habitats, such as the extension of roads, electrical wiring, etc.
This has caused many international ecological initiatives to administer conservation spaces for different eagle species, hoping to repopulate their habitats.
Eagle representative species
Some of the representative species of the eagle are:
- Bald eagle ( Haliaeetus leucocephalus ). Known as the American or white-headed eagle, it is native to North America and is protected after being in danger of extinction.
- Harpy eagle ( Harpia harpyja ). Famous for its colors and gray crest, it is the largest eagle in the Americas, similar to the Philippine eagle. It abounds in Central and South America, in the Amazon rainforest.
- Iberian imperial eagle ( Aquila adalberti ). With a very dark brown hue and a large average size, it is typical of the Iberian Peninsula, especially in Andalusia.
- Golden eagle ( Aquila chrysaetos ). Symbol of different royal houses in Europe, it is a very abundant species, with dark but shiny plumage and intense yellow legs. With a streamlined body and curved bill at the end, it can be found on all continents, generally preferring warm climates .
- Black eagle ( Buteogallus urubitinga ). Brown in color and medium to large in size, it is known as the African eagle as it is native to the Middle East and Africa, especially the Arabian Peninsula and Sudan. It is considered a particularly "calm" eagle, although it has been seen devouring monkeys , herons, reptiles or even carrion when necessary.
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