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Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet, 2011   Tags: bird, eagle, fact sheet, feather, golden, national bird, raptor, san diego zoo, sdzg, sky dance, talons  

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Last Updated: Dec 29, 2016 URL: http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/goldeneagle Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet, 2011

Golden Eagle in flight

Image credit: © Juan lacruz via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain. Location: La Cañada, Ávila, Spain.

TaxonomyPhysical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Accipitridae (eagles and hawks)

Genus: Aquila

Species: Aquila chrysaetos

  • Aquila chrysaetos canadensis (only subspecies in North America)
  • Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos (Europe and Asia)
  • Aquila chrysaetos kamtschatica (northeast Asia - a possible subspecies)
  • Aquila chrysaetos homeyen (Spain, North Africa)
  • Aquila chrysaetos daphanea (Iran to central China)
  • Aquila chrysaetos japonica (Korea and Japan)

Body Weight
Male: 2.8-4.6 kg (6-10 lb)
Female: 3.6-6.7 kg (x-y lb)

Body Length
75-90 cm (2.5-4 ft)

Wingspan
190-227 cm (6.2-7.5 ft)

Pelage
Dark brown with pale yellow or tawny on back and head

Distribution & StatusBehavior & Ecology

Range
Northern Hemisphere.

Habitat
Open landscapes of mountains, plateaus and steppes. Sea level to high elevation. Generally absent from densely populated or agricultural areas.

IUCN Status
Least Concern, version 3.1

CITES Status
Appendix II

Other Designations
Protected in the U.S. under The Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Population in Wild
Approximately 300,000, worldwide

Locomotion
Aerobatic flyer. Glide and soar; able to make steep dives. Walk and hop.

Activity Cycle
Diurnal. Perch much of the day. Hunt, incubate, and build nests.

Social Groups
Largely solitary, except for breeding birds. May roost or bathe in groups. Immature birds may associate with each other.

Diet
Carrion, medium-sized mammals (mustelids, foxes, cats, young of large mammals), birds, less often reptiles.

Predators
Humans; no natural predators.

Reproduction & DevelopmentSpecies Highlights

Sexual Maturity
Typically 4-7 years old

Clutch size
1-3 eggs

Incubation period
43-45 days

Age at fledging
Between 66 and 75 days.

Longevity
Wild: about 40 years
Captivity: about 50 years

Feature Facts

  • Is the national bird of Mexico, Albania, Germany, Austrian, and Kazakhstan.
  • Formerly occurred in the Appalachian mountains of eastern U.S.
  • Adult females are larger than males
  • Play behavior observed; often mock hunting or fighting
  • Can swim, if necessary
  • In winter and early spring, defend territories with undulating "sky dance"
  • Sometimes hit by wind turbines.
  • Parents use their bodies to insulate chicks from extreme temperatures
 

About This Fact Sheet

© 2011 San Diego Zoo Global. Population Status update 2016.

How to cite: Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet, 2011. c2011-2016. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Global; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/goldeneagle.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)

Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Global makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to library@sandiegozoo.org.

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