Aquila heliaca heliaca

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Rare and Endangered Animals of Armenia

The Imperial Eagle

The Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) is very similar to the Golden Eagle, but a little smaller (length 80 cm, wingspan 200 cm). It is not as powerful as its relative. This eagle belongs to the bird of prey family Accipitridae.

Imperial Eagles are distributed in South East Europe, West and Central Asia. There is another population in Spain, considered as a supspecies or sometimes even a separate species (Spanish Imperial Eagle, or Adalbert's Eagle). In the winter this eagle migrates to Africa, India and China. The Spanish subspecies, however, does not migrate.

In Europe, the Imperial Eagle is threatened with extinction. It has vanished from much of its former distribution area, e.g. Hungary and Austria. In Spain there are currently around 170 pairs reported and it is making a very slow recovery although it is still an endangered species. A small population is preserved in Doñana National Park, Spain but the bulk of its population live in the mediterranean woods of the central and southwestern quarters of the country.

The monarchy of Austria-Hungary once chose the Imperial Eagle to be its heraldic animal, but this did not help this bird. The preferred habitat is open country with small woods; it doesn't exist in mountains, large forests and treeless steppes.

The nest is built in trees, which are not surrounded by other trees, so these nests are visible from a long way off, and the eagles may overlook the surroundings. Tree branches are taken in order to build the nest, which is upholstered with grass and feathers.

In March or April the female lays two or three eggs. After 45 days the youngs are hatching. Often just one young will leave the nest, while the other(s) die before becoming fully-fledged.

This eagle feeds mainly on susliks (a kind of ground squirrel), and in addition on other rodents, martens, foxes and birds. In Spain rabbits make up the staple of its diet.

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Animal in Armenia

Սովորական բլրային արծիվ (“Sovorakan blrayin artsiv”)


Rare and disappearing species. Included in the Red Book of the former USSR.

Habitat in Armenia

Met in Armenia during spring and fall flights. Rarely met while wintering in the territory of Armenia.

Number in the wild

The overall number in Armenia is not available.

Reasons for decrease in number

Decrease of forage resources, aside from other reasons.

Number in captivity

45 species kept in the zoos of the former Soviet Union.

Measures of protection taken

Hunting is forbidden in the territory of Armenia. Included in the Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

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