Thursday, 2 January 2014

148. Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

Steppe Eagles occur occasionally in Europe but breed further east than this - their usual distribution starts in southern Russia north of the Caucasus and Caspian Sea and extends across Eurasia from there. They winter mostly in Africa, with a few in parts of the Middle East. They are large and long-winged, and can look very similar to the Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles, but have longer wings, and if you get a good enough view (!) oval rather than round nostrils and a heavier bill with the yellow gape reaching further back under the eye. The flight and tail feathers are coarsely barred, more extensively than in the Spotted Eagles, and have a thick black trailing edge. The photo is of an immature bird; they are lighter brown with dark flight feathers separated by a white band and the flight and tail feathers have a white trailing edge. Their preferred habitat is lowland steppe plains, foothills and semi-desert.

Steppe Eagle, ©Tarique Sani, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Steppe Eagle painting.
Darn, I must be a bit out of practice from having a break over Christmas - ran out of time to finish and the colour's a bit lurid.

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