Imperial Eagle

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Imperial Eagle

 

(Aquila heliaca), a bird of the family Falconidae. The body length measures approximately 80 cm, and the wingspread, approximately 2 m. Adult birds are black-brown with white spots on the scapulars; the young are brown with reddish streaking. The imperial eagle is distributed in Europe and western Asia. In the USSR it lives in the forest-steppe and steppe and in the desert, as far east as Lake Baikal. It settles in forests near open spaces or rivers and in saxaul thickets and builds its nest out of branches in trees or, more rarely, in bushes. It lays a clutch of two or three eggs, which are incubated by both the male and female for more than 40 days. The imperial eagle feeds mainly on rodents, the extermination of which is beneficial; less often it feeds on birds and carrion. The number of imperial eagles is rapidly declining everywhere. The bird often rests on burial mounds; hence the Russian name for the bird mogil’nik, “burial ground.”

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