Eagle::eagles    Genus::eagle    Title::species    Convert::eagles    Category::their    Symbols::national

Description Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey, with a heavy head and beak. Even the smallest eagles, like the booted eagle (Aquila pennata) (which is comparable in size to a common buzzard (Buteo buteo) or red-tailed hawk (B. jamaicensis)), have relatively longer and more evenly broad wings, and more direct, faster flight – despite the reduced size of aerodynamic feathers. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from some vultures. The smallest species of eagle is the South Nicobar serpent eagle (Spilornis klossi), at {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} and {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}. The largest species are discussed below. Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong muscular legs, and powerful talons. The beak is typically heavier than that of most other birds of prey. Eagles' eyes are extremely powerful, having up to 3.6 times human acuity for the martial eagle, which enables them to spot potential prey from a very long distance.<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref> This keen eyesight is primarily attributed to their extremely large pupils which ensure minimal diffraction (scattering) of the incoming light. The female of all known species of eagles is larger than the male.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name="Grambo2003">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

Eagles normally build their nests, called eyries, in tall trees or on high cliffs. Many species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched. The dominant chick tends to be a female, as they are bigger than the male. The parents take no action to stop the killing.<ref name= gambo>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref name= stinson>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

Due to the size and power of many eagle species, they are ranked at the top of the food chain as apex predators in the avian world. The type of prey varies by genus. The Haliaeetus and Ichthyophaga eagles prefer to capture fish, though the species in the former often capture various animals, especially other water birds, and are powerful kleptoparasites of other birds. The snake and serpent eagles of the genera Circaetus, Terathopius, and Spilornis predominantly prey on the great diversity of snakes found in the tropics of Africa and Asia. The eagles of the genus Aquila are often the top birds of prey in open habitats, taking almost any medium-sized vertebrate they can catch. Where Aquila eagles are absent, other eagles, such as the buteonine black-chested buzzard-eagle of South America, may assume the position of top raptorial predator in open areas. Many other eagles, including the species-rich Spizaetus genus, live predominantly in woodlands and forest. These eagles often target various arboreal or ground-dwelling mammals and birds, which are often unsuspectingly ambushed in such dense, knotty environments. Hunting techniques differ among the species and genera, with some individual eagles having engaged in quite varied techniques based their environment and prey at any given time. Most eagles grab prey without landing and take flight with it so the prey can be carried to a perch and torn apart.<ref name=RaptorsWorld>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

The bald eagle is noted for having flown with the heaviest load verified to be carried by any flying bird, since one eagle flew with a {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} mule deer fawn.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> However, a few eagles may target prey considerably heavier than themselves; such prey is too heavy to fly with, thus it is either eaten at the site of the kill or taken in pieces back to a perch or nest. Golden and crowned eagles have killed ungulates weighing up to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} and a martial eagle even killed a {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} duiker, 7–8 times heavier than the preying eagle.<ref name=RaptorsWorld/><ref name= Watson>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> Authors on birds David Allen Sibley, Pete Dunne, and Clay Sutton described the behavioral difference between hunting eagles and other birds of prey thus (in this case the bald and golden eagles as compared to other North American raptors):<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

They have at least one singular characteristic. It has been observed that most birds of prey look back over their shoulders before striking prey (or shortly thereafter); predation is after all a two-edged sword. All hawks seem to have this habit, from the smallest kestrel to the largest Ferruginous – but not the Eagles.

Among the eagles are some of the largest birds of prey: only the condors and some of the Old World vultures are markedly larger. It is regularly debated which should be considered the largest species of eagle. They could be measured variously in total length, body mass, or wingspan. Different lifestyle needs among various eagles result in variable measurements from species to species. For example, many forest-dwelling eagles, including the very large harpy and Philippine eagles, have relatively short wingspans, a feature necessary for being able to maneuver in quick, short bursts through dense forested habitats.<ref name="RaptorsWorld"/> Eagles in the genus Aquila, though found almost strictly in open country, are superlative soarers, and have relatively long wings for their size.<ref name=RaptorsWorld/>

These lists of the top five eagles are based on weight, length, and wingspan, respectively. Unless otherwise noted by reference, the figures listed are the median reported for each measurement in the guide Raptors of the World<ref>Ferguson-Lees, et al.)</ref> in which only measurements that could be personally verified by the authors were listed.<ref name=RaptorsWorld/>

Rank Common name Scientific name Body mass
1 Steller's sea eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus convert}}
2 Philippine eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi convert}}
3 Harpy eagle Harpia harpyja convert}}
4 White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla convert}}<ref name="HBW">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation CitationClass=book


5 Martial eagle Polemaetus bellicosus convert}}<ref name="HBW"/>
Rank Common name Scientific name Total length
1 Philippine eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi convert}}<ref name=PhilRaptors>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation CitationClass=journal


2 Harpy eagle Harpia harpyja convert}}
3 Wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax convert}}
4 Steller's sea eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus convert}}
5 Crowned eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus convert}}
Rank Common name Scientific name Median wingspan
1 White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla convert}}
2 Steller's sea eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus convert}}
3 Wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax convert}}<ref>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation CitationClass=journal

}}</ref><ref name = "Wood">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation



4 Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos convert}}
5 Martial eagle Polemaetus bellicosus convert}}

Eagle sections
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