Tawny Eagle

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Tawny Eagle

 

(Aquila nipalensis), also steppe eagle, a bird of the family Accipitridae of the family Falconiformes. The birds are 66–87 cm long and weigh 2.7–4.8 kg. The females are larger than the males. The plumage is dark brown, with a rusty spot at the back of the head; juveniles are spotted. The tawny eagle is found in arid steppes, semideserts, and, less frequently, deserts. Its range extends from Rumania (Dobruja) to northeastern China; in the USSR the bird is common in Kazakhstan and Transbaikalia. The bird wanders during the winter. The nest is built on the ground on mounds or hillocks; the clutch usually contains two eggs. The young remain in the nest for two months. The tawny eagle feeds mainly on rodents, especially ground squirrels, for which it waits outside the burrow. Sometimes the bird eats carrion and preys on other birds. The tawny eagle is considered a highly beneficial bird. Decreasing in number throughout its range, it needs protection.