The Golden eagle is a majestic and powerful bird of prey. Adult individuals are generally similar to each other, though the males are notably smaller than females. The feathering of their body is dark brown, except with golden to blond colored plumage on the back of the head as well as white colored feathers at the base of the tail. Beak and claws are black while feet and cere - a fleshy skin, covering the nostrils of the bird - is yellow in color. Young eagles have a wide line on the tail, which is white-colored with a black edge. In addition, there are white under-wing markings at the base of their primary feathers. By their second year, the white under-wing coverts usually decrease.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of a...
Arboreal locomotion is the locomotion of animals in trees. In habitats in which trees are present, animals have evolved to move in them. Some anima...
Soaring birds can maintain flight without wing flapping, using rising air currents. Many gliding birds are able to "lock" their extended wings by m...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Predators are animals that kill and eat other organisms, their prey. Predators may actively search for or pursue prey or wait for it, often conceal...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
Gliding flight is heavier-than-air flight without the use of thrust and is employed by gliding animals. Birds in particular use gliding flight to m...
Congregatory animals tend to gather in large numbers in specific areas as breeding colonies, for feeding, or for resting.
Monogamy is a form of relationship in which both the male and the female has only one partner. This pair may cohabitate in an area or territory for...
Partial migration is when within a migratory species or even within a single population, some individuals migrate while others do not.
Golden eagles are distributed over a vast territory, covering Eurasia, northern Africa, and North America. They range from Alaska to the central regions of Mexico through most of western North America. In addition, they can occasionally be found in small numbers throughout eastern Canada, and there are scattered pairs, living in the eastern United States. Most populations of Golden eagles are sedentary, but the species is actually a partial migrant. These birds are most frequently found in mountainous areas but they can live in a wide variety of habitats, including grasslands, shrublands, woodland-shrublands, coniferous forests, and tundra. They typically avoid developed areas of any type from urban to agricultural as well as heavily forested regions.
Golden eagles are diurnal, being active by day and sleeping at night. They usually spend time singly or in pairs. However, occasionally, non-mated birds can gather into groups. Also, during extreme weather conditions or abundance of food, wintering adults tend to congregate in groups. Golden eagles prefer to hunt in pairs, cooperating with each other: usually, one of them chases the prey, driving it towards the waiting partner. These birds of prey are generally silent even during the breeding period. Their voice is considered weak, high, and shrill and their distinct calls include a chirp, a seeir, a pssa, a skonk, a cluck, a wonk, a honk, and a hiss.
Golden eagles are carnivores. They mainly feed upon small mammals like prairie dogs, hares, rabbits, ground squirrels, or marmots. Meanwhile, fish, birds, and reptiles frequently become a good supplement to their usual diet. In addition, Golden eagles can occasionally prey on flying birds such as cranes or geese.
Golden eagles are monogamous and form long-term pairs. They usually stay within a vast territory each year. While rearing the young, Golden eagles frequently move from one eyrie (nest) to another. Throughout their home range, they construct several nests, using them for many years. The eggs are usually laid between January and May, depending on the area, and incubated during 41-45 days. The chicks hatch out at intervals of several days. They are born altricial, brooded by their mother with decreasing frequency during the first 45 days of their lives. Both the male and the female take part in feeding the chicks. The hatchlings stay in the nest for 45-81 days, after which they start leaving the nest by hopping, walking, or just falling out. The young start flying at about 10 weeks old. Then, about 32-80 days after fledging, they become fully independent. Young Golden eagles start breeding only after getting the adult plumage, usually by the age of 4-7 years old.
These birds are threatened by environmental destruction, leading to the reduction of their population. Golden eagles are persecuted, electrocuted in power lines as well caught in traps, intended for coyotes or other animals. Major concerns to their population also include poisoning and egg collecting: although the species are legally protected, single cases of both occasionally take place. Another threat is commercial tree-planting, which significantly disrupts their habitat.
According to the IUCN Red List resource, the total population size of the Golden eagle is 85,000-160,000 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Golden eagles play a significant role in the local ecosystem, controlling prey populations. In addition, Golden eagles compete with other animals for prey and habitat. Thus, they prey on the same species as White-tailed eagles, Bald eagles, coyotes, and California condors. As it comes to habitat, they compete with Rough-legged hawks, gyrfalcons, Peregrine falcons as well as ravens.