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GOLDEN EAGLE

Scientific Name: Aquila chrysaetos
Order
Accipitriformes (hawks, eagles, vultures)

Family
Accipitridae

Habitat & Range
Golden Eagles can be found living in the open terrain of deserts, mountains, and plateaus in the Northern Hemisphere. They are not usually found in heavily forested areas. Golden eagles living in the north will migrate south when food supplies become scarce in the winter.

Identification
Golden eagles are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage covering their heads and necks. Like most birds-of-prey, the females are larger in size than the males.  They have a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet and can weigh anywhere from 6 to 14 pounds.

Diet
Golden eagles prey mainly on mammals, such as jack rabbits, ground squirrels and marmots. They have also been known scavenge the remains of larger animals, such as deer. Most prey is caught on the ground, but golden eagles are capable of catching birds in mid-air.

Reproduction & Lifespan
Golden eagles nest in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They build huge nests that they may return to for several breeding seasons. Females lay from 1 to 4 eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days.

Golden eagles are expected to live 25 to 30 years in the wild, and up to 45 years in captivity.

Fantastic Fact
Shell Games
Golden eagles have been known to eat tortoises; they fly with the tortoise held in their talons and then drop it on a rock outcrop to break the shell open.
 
 
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