Golden eagle

   ›      ›   Golden eagle - Aquila chrysaetos.

The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) belongs to the family Accipitridae.

These golden eagle species are distributed in Europe, Asia, Indian subcontinent, Africa, North America and the Middle East.

Taxonomy of Golden eagle

  • Scientific Name: Aquila chrysaetos
  • Common Name: Golden eagle
  • French: Aigle royal; German: Steinadler; Spanish: Águila real;
  • Other names: Falco Chrysaëtos Linnaeus, 1758;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aquila chrysaetos is closely related to A. audax and A. gurneyi. It was earler included in the genus Falco. The six recognized subspecies are: A. c. chrysaetos (Linnaeus, 1758), A. c. homeyeri Severtsov, 1888, A. c. daphanea Severtsov, 1888, A. c. kamtschatica Severtsov, 1888, A. c. japonica Severtsov, 1888 and A. c. canadensis (Linnaeus, 1758).


The golden eagle is a large bird of prey, male bird measuring 75 to 90 cm in length and weighing 2,800 to 4,500 grams. The female eagle is larger than the male and weighs 3,600 to 6,600 grams. The wingspan is 190 to 230 cm. These eagle species generally have dark brown plumage. The back of the crown and nape region usually has golden-brown plumage. The bill is dark at the tip, fading into lighter horn color. The bare portion of the feet are yellow. Their call is a high, shrill sound.

Birds of India - Image of Golden eagle - Aquila chrysaetos
Birds of India - Image of Golden eagle - Aquila chrysaetos


The golden eagle inhabits various habitats like mountains, marshes, deserts, semi-deserts, plateaux, plains and steppe.

Feeding habits

The golden eagle species feed on birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians and medium sized mammals like rodents, rabbits and hares.


The golden eagle breeding season depends upon the range and is usually from March to August. These eagle species nest on cliffs and large trees. The nest is a large platform, built with sticks and twigs.


The golden eagle subspecies A. c. chrysaetos is distributed in Europe and Siberia. The subspecies A. c. homeyeri is distributed in North Africa, Mediterranean region, Middle East, Arabia, Iran and Uzbekistan. The subspecies A. c. daphanea is distributed in Central Asia, Central China and north Indian subcontinent. The golden eagle subspecies A. c. kamtschatica is distributed in Siberia and East Russia. The subspecies A. c. japonica is distributed in Japan and Korea. The subspecies A. c. canadensis is distributed in North America.

Movement Patterns

The golden eagle species are mostly sedentary. The eagle populations in the northern regions may move southwards in search of feed in the winter.

Status and conservation

The golden eagle global population is estimated to number more than 170,000 birds. These species have an extremely large range and are considered least vulnerable. Poisoning, persecution, trapping, loss of habitat, use of certain pesticides, electrocution from power lines, collision with the wind turbines and long term changes in food supply are the major threats to the survival of these eagle species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Aquila chrysaetos
Species:A. chrysaetos
Binomial name:Aquila chrysaetos
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Indian subcontinent, Africa, the Middle East, North America;
Feeding habits:birds and medium sized mammals;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

Popular posts in Birds of India

Image source:,_California,_USA_-head-8a.jpg
Image author: Jason Hickey | License: CC BY 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Golden eagle - Aquila chrysaetos.
Contact State Tourism or travel agents for bird watching and wildlife tours.