Friday, May 10, 2013

Booted Eagle

Aquila pennata
Allow me to introduce you to the Booted Eagle, a much smaller bird of prey than many of the more famous Eagle species. These birds have a body length of around 1.5ft, with a wingspan of up to 4ft. They come in two different color forms-- pale and dark. While the birds all share dark backs and wings, they either have pale undersides, or very dark, streaked undersides. Booted Eagles also have heavily feathered legs.

The Booted Eagles have a pretty large range that extends across southern Europe, northern Africa, and western and central Asia. Because they live in so many places it is unsurprising that they also exist in a variety of habitats. Woodlands, grasslands, and even dry desert-like areas are home turf for these Birds.

The habits of these Eagles also vary due to their many habitat options. In some locations they prefer to feed on other birds, taking them right out of the air. But in other locations reptiles and rodents are more popular dinner fare. Even nesting differs. Booted Eagles that live further north tend to nest more often in trees, while those in the south take to cliffs.

One final interesting note is that the Booted Eagles are actually close genetic relatives to the now-extinct Haast's Eagles that lived all the way in New Zealand. This is pretty amazing considering the distance and the size differentiation. Haast's Eagles had 10ft wingspans and could hunt Moas!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Europe, Asia, Africa
Size : Length up to 18in (46cm), Wingspan up to 4ft (1.2m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Accipitriformes
Family : Accipitridae -- Genus : Aquila -- Species : A. pennata
Image : Lip Kee Yap

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