Incubated a bald eagle

Bald eagle. Eagle. What does a bald eagle look like?

Russian name - Bald eagle

Latin name - Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Squad - Falcon

family - Falcon

The bald eagle was recognized as the national bird of the United States in 1782, and since then its image has been adorned with the state emblem, presidential standard, banknotes, and other government documents and papers.

State of preservation

The bald eagle has been protected in the United States since 1940. One of two existing subspecies, H.I. Leukocephalus (nominally called) is included on the IUCN Red List.

View and person

Despite its "state" status and legislative protection, the number of bald eagles is in the 19th and 20th centuries. greatly decreased. The main reasons for this were mass destruction and human economic activity. Most dangerous to the eagle (as indeed to all other species of birds of prey) has been the widespread use of DDT and other insecticides, which have a negative impact on breeding productivity (large numbers of eggs laid by the eagles died meanwhile incubation). The ban on the use of insecticides has resulted in a gradual recovery in the numbers of bald eagles, and now their existence in nature is safe. The United States currently has laws prohibiting the killing or captivity of living bald eagles without special permission.

For most Indian tribes, the bald eagle was considered a sacred bird, a mediator between earthly people and the heavenly Great Spirit - the creator of the universe. Myths and rituals were dedicated to him, clothes and headdresses were decorated with his feathers. Numerous images of the eagle can still be found on household items, dishes, baskets, as well as on totem poles and grave sites.

Spread

The bald eagle lives in Canada, the United States, and some areas in northern Mexico. Its distribution is characterized by extreme unevenness, and most breeding pairs are concentrated on the sea coasts and near large rivers and lakes.

By the end of the 20th century. The bald eagle has occasionally been recorded in the Russian Far East, but these have always been only occasional flights with no evidence of nesting.

Eagle populations that live on the sea or ocean coast are sedentary, while populations that live on the shores of freezing inland waters regularly migrate in winter.

Look

The bald eagle is one of the largest birds of prey in North America. The total length reaches 70-120 cm, the wingspan is 180-230 cm, and the weight is 3-6.3 kg. Women are about ¼ taller than men. The birds in the northern part of the range are significantly larger than those living in the south.

The beak is large, hook-shaped, golden yellow in adult birds. The legs are also yellow and the tarsus and fingers have no plumage. The fingers are long, about 6 inches, with sharp claws. The eagle holds the victim with its front fingers and kills it with the claw of its rear finger.

The color of adult birds looks rich in contrast and very impressive - a dark brown body and a pure white head. But eagles acquire such an outfit only at the age of 5, and with each moult they approach adult plumage. Sexual dimorphism only occurs in size.

Feeding and feeding behavior

Of all the available foods, the bald eagle prefers live and dead fish. In second place in terms of importance are water birds and water birds. With a shortage or inaccessibility of fish, birds can form the basis of the feed, and their eagle feed content increases from 7-10% to 80%. The predator, the eagle, is most dangerous for colonies of birds, where adult birds, chicks, and eggs become easy prey. In the case of mammals, bald eagles may hunt medium-sized land animals and, in some places, baby seals. On average, a bald eagle's diet consists of 56% fish, 28% birds, and 14% mammals.









activity

Like most birds of prey, eagles are active during the day. (No wonder another name for falconers is birds of prey of the day).

Vocalization

The bald eagle's voice is surprisingly weak and quiet - it's either a high-pitched scream or a whistle. Young birds have sharper and harder voices. Adult eagles are most commonly heard during the "changing of the guard" on the nest during incubation, as well as in places with mass concentration of birds in winter.

social behaviour

The social behavior of the bald eagle is not very complex and is similar to that of other eagle species. Their pairs are constant, but outside of the breeding season, birds lead a lonely lifestyle. The pair only connects during the nesting period.

During winter migrations, a certain number of eagles can gather in one place, but no strict hierarchy is observed between them.

Reproductive and upbringing behavior

Bald eagles begin their breeding season with amazingly beautiful demonstration flights of both birds, during which they chase each other, dive deep into the air and turn themselves upside down.

Then the couple settles in their nesting area. The protected area around the nest is approx. 1-2 square meters. km, but it can be more or less dependent on the number of neighboring pairs and the availability of available production.

Nest building begins at different times in different states of the United States, from late September to January, but always earlier than other birds of prey in the region. The nest of the bald eagle is made up of large branches and twigs and is located in the crown of a tall living tree with the possibility of such large birds flying freely and no further than 1-2 km from the water. There is an opinion among American ornithologists that the bald eagle's nest is the largest among all birds in North America: it can reach a diameter of 2.5 m, a height of 4 m, and weigh about 1 ton. The main branch frame of the eagles is attached with grass, dry corn stalks or dry seaweed. Building or renovating a nest takes several days to 3 months. Both parents take part in this work, but more often the male only brings building material and the female lays it in the nest. In addition to the main nest, there can be several replacement nests in the place of each pair.

The laying takes place 1-3 months after the nest building has started. There are usually 2 large, light-colored eggs (1 to 3) in the clutch, which are laid 1 or 2 days apart. The incubation lasts about 35 days and begins with the first egg. The female mainly incubates, the male only occasionally replaces them. The chicks appear in the same order the eggs were laid, so the second chick is 1 or 2 times younger than the first. This difference is quite sufficient for this younger and weaker chick to be constantly attacked by the older one and to run out of food. As a result of this competition for food, the youngest chick most often dies of starvation. It is noteworthy that the parents in no way react to this antagonistic relationship between the chicks.

During the first 5-6 weeks of the chicks' life, one of the parents is constantly in the nest (most often the female), and then the adults leave the nest and stay somewhere nearby. The chicks they bring with them can already tear themselves apart. After 10-12 weeks, the chicks try to make their first flights, although this is not always successful. Even if young eagles have already learned to fly, they stay on their parents' grounds for quite a long time (several weeks).

Usually, each pair does not grow more than one chick.

lifespan

In the wild, bald eagles live in captivity for up to 18 to 20 years - more up to about 36 years.

The story of life in the Moscow Zoo

Bald eagles are now kept in our zoo both at the exhibition in the aviary "The Rock of the Birds of Prey" in the Old Territory and in the kindergarten, where the pair has been breeding regularly since 2010. The exhibition so far only contains one woman.

The daily diet of bald eagles (as well as other 2 types of eagles) includes 700-800 g of meat, 200-800 g of fish (depending on the season) and 1 rat.

Royal majesty, predatory grace, and power have long made the eagle a symbol of power. As the national emblem of the United States of America, it adorns the coat of arms of that state.
Habitat. Lives in North America.

Habitat.
The bald eagle lives in North America - from the southern outskirts of Alaska to Canada to the southern border of the United States. The main nesting sites of these bird predators are in the northern regions, and only a few pairs settle in the south. When choosing a nesting place, eagles prefer areas overgrown with tall conifers, and in the treeless tundra they nest on high rocks or islands. The main thing is that there is water nearby: the sea coast, a river or a lake. Eagles are typical residents of the temperate zone, but many of them settle in colder regions closer to the Arctic Circle.

Species: Bald Eagle - Halieetus leucocephalus.
Family: Hawk.
Order: Birds of prey during the day.
Class: birds.
Subtype: vertebrates.

You know?

  • The bald eagle conscientiously fulfills the duties of a medic, mainly destroying sick and wounded animals and clearing the area of ​​carrion.
  • The eagle is an extremely vocal bird with a rich "vocabulary".
  • Young eagles improve their flying skills and often start games in the air. Someone from the company flies high in the sky with a branch in their claws, then lets go of it and relatives try to catch it immediately. Sometimes adult birds take part in the games of young animals.
  • A pair of eagles can use the same nest for years, which after many repairs and alterations reaches a diameter of 3 m.
  • An adult eagle can eat more than a kilogram of meat in one sitting.
  • The first chick to hatch is usually larger and stronger than the others. If the parents bring too little food with them, the weak eagles die of hunger, as all the food goes to the strongest.

Security.
Bald eagles were abundant across North America in the 18th century, but with the advent of white settlers, their numbers began to decline rapidly. Intensive agriculture and the use of pesticides have resulted in massive adult bird mortality. Chicks died of starvation and many couples who became sterile were unable to reproduce. Today the population of the southern subspecies of the sea eagle is endangered; To save them, scientists raise the chicks in captivity and then release them. Eagles receive food out of contact with humans, so once they are free they do not forget how to get food on their own.

Way of life.
Adult eagles are sedentary and only move south in very cold winters, where it is easier to get food. Young birds migrate in groups for several years - they fly along the seashore or make forays inland after salmon spawn. During such migrations, birds sometimes find a partner. The bald eagle is a monogamous bird, and the spouses live in peace and harmony, not separated for years. At the beginning of the breeding season, the male occupies a certain area and protects it from strangers. Many people can envy the eagle's hunting skills. Among the trophies of this bird, fish and waterfowl predominate, but sometimes octopus, ptarmigan, rabbits, muskrats and young sea otters are caught in the claws, and occasionally the eagle does not despise carrion. The predator gathers to hunt, chooses a comfortable observation post and can sit motionless for hours looking for prey. He spots a fish, rushes headlong to the target over the water and grabs it with sharp claws. If the fish is very large, the eagle will fall on it with a stone from a height of about 15 m and hide underwater for a moment to catch prey. In the hunt for waterfowl, the eagle pursues the victim until it is exhausted and, after overtaking the bird in flight, turns on its back to strike from below. Bald eagles often feed on terns and scavengers. In winter, the eagles crowd into small groups: together it is easier to feed the cold and survive. If the prey is too big, the birds pull it ashore with a concerted effort. When hunting, they clearly distribute responsibilities: the thugs drive the rabbits out of their holes, and their brothers wait in ambush for prey. Despite frequent delicacy disputes, eagles hold up against sticking together. Usually the strongest will start eating first and the others will wait patiently for their turn.

Reproduction.
When it is time to breed, two eagles return to their nest. Young birds that are about to make their first brood must first occupy the area and build a nest. The current partners demonstrate the wonders of aerial acrobatics - they rush into the sky, clasping each other with their claws, and head over heels down to part above the ground and scatter to the sides. After the mating flights, it's time to build a new nest or fix it last year. Before mating, the male approaches the partner, nods rhythmically with his head, flaps his open wings with force and spreads his tail in a fan. The woman crouches benevolently and the gentleman climbs onto her back without hesitation. The mating ritual is repeated several times. After about three weeks the female lays 2-4 eggs and incubates the clutch alone for the first few days and then switches with her husband. After 34-35 days, weak and helpless chicks hatch from the eggs. Parents not only provide them with food, but also protect them from cold or overheating. First the chicks sit in a pile in the middle of the nest and later they sit on the edges and look around in anticipation of dinner. At 9 to 11 weeks of age, eagles try to fly first, and by 12 weeks they confidently take on wings, but they have not yet started hunting on their own and sitting on their parents' bread for another 6 to 8 weeks. As soon as the boys learn to eat independently, their parents leave them. Young eagles have monochromatic dark brown plumage, dark beaks, and legs. Adolescents are kept in groups until they reach puberty around the age of five. During this time, the birds acquire a color typical of adults, and their beaks and paws light up.

Bald Eagle - Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Length: 76-82 cm.
Span: 2.5 m.
Weight: male - 4.0-4.6 kg, female - 5.8-6.3 kg.
Number of eggs in a clutch: 1-4.
Incubation period: 34-35 days.
Sexual maturity: 5 years.
Food: carnivores.

Structure.
Nostrils. There are large oval nostrils at the base of the beak.
Eyes. Round eyes are set deep under the forehead crests.
Plumage. The body of the bird is covered with dark brown plumage. The head and tail are white.
Beak. The ribbed beak is used to tear prey apart.
Wing. Thanks to its very long and wide wings, the eagle glides smoothly.
Head. The head, covered with white feathers, serves as a distinguishing mark for the birds of this species.
Finger. Four short yellow toes end with long, hook-shaped and very sharp claws.
Legs. Strong legs are feathered down to the tarsus.
Tail. In flight, the white tail feathers are spread out in a wide fan.

Related species.
In addition to the bald eagle, the genus Haliaeetus also includes seven species of diurnal feathered predators that share a number of common characteristics. All eagles have a very wide wingspan, rounded tail, their legs are feathered only to the root of their feet, and their paws are armed with sharp claws like daggers. Powerful hook beaks allow birds to easily tear prey into pieces. Adult eagles show contrasting plumage, young ones are completely brown. Most often, eagles settle near the sea coast on the banks of rivers and lakes.

If you think you know the exact answer to the question, you are deeply mistaken!

Eagle has the classic look of a feathered attacker. The name of the bird is translated from Greek as sea eagle. In fact, it is very much like an eagle. But he has no feathers on his paws. Stronger beak.There are nuances in the shape of the wings and tail, which is due to the different methods of hunting.

There were no separate names for eagles and eagles in English. Both are called an eagle, that is, an eagle.

Description and functions

Eagles are one of the largest and most beautiful predators. The weight reaches 7 kilograms, and the sea eagle of the steller can reach 9 kilograms. Suitable dimensions: body length up to 120 centimeters, wing length up to 75 centimeters, wingspan up to 250 centimeters.

On a small, neat, movable head is an exemplary beak of a bird of prey. It has a pronounced hookiness and a warning yellow color. The dimensions of the beak (8 centimeters from base to tip) indicate that the bird prefers large prey. To match the beak, the color of deep-seated eyes, they are also yellow. The neck allows the head to rotate almost 180 degrees.

The wings are wide. During the flight, the flight feathers are spread out sideways, the wing area becomes even larger. This ensures economical and effective evaporation of air currents upwards.

The wedge-shaped tail helps with complex, almost acrobatic tricks. A distinctive feature of the eagle: its yellow paws are not covered with feathers up to the toes. The toes are the same color as the feet, are up to 15 centimeters long and end in strong hooked claws.

The general color of the feathers is brown with stripes. Some species have extensive white spots in different parts of the body. The color of the plumage varies greatly with age. The color only becomes stable after 8-10 years. The first feathers are evenly brown.

The second moult brings variety in the form of white splashes. The third moult is an intermediate step towards the final shade. The final color of the adult is only reached after the fifth molt.

The bird looks very impressive, but its scream is not terrifying. It reproduces screams and whistles. The high pitch can be replaced with a sound that resembles a cold chirp. The cries of young birds are more abrupt.

They seldom move on to an in-depth exchange of information. This mainly occurs when changing partners in the nest.

Sexual dimorphism is weak. The main difference is the size of women and men. But eagles have strayed from the general natural rule. Their women are taller than men (15-20 percent).

This only occurs in a few species of birds of prey. This is explained by the fact that the preferential right to leave offspring is not obtained from large males, but from those who can hunt small prey during the chicks feeding season.

Views

According to the biological classifier, the eagle (Haliaeetus) belongs to the subfamily of the same name, the eagles (Haliaeetinae), which belong to the falcon family, which is attributed to the order of the falcons. Scientists divide this genus into eight species.

  • The most common and one of the largest is white-tailed eagle... zoologists call it Haliaeetus albicilla. The name indicates a peculiarity - the white color of the tail. It makes nests in Europe, in Asia north of the Himalayas, including Japan. Found in southwest Greenland.

  • Lives in the north and bears offspring bald eagle. Its Latin name is Haliaeetus leucocephalus. Outwardly, a noticeable difference is reflected in its name. This eagle has white feathers on its head. The basis of his diet is fish. For a long time it was one of the extinct species. But the strict security made itself felt.

At the end of the 20th century, the disappeared were given the status of an endangered person instead of the status. There is one more unique quality: no bird in America builds such large nests. At the base they can reach 4 meters.

  • Steller's sea eagle - the largest species. In the classifier it is referred to as Haliaeetus pelagicus. It inhabits the Far East including the Koryak Highlands, Kamchatkas, Sakhalin, northern China, and the Korean Peninsula. Dark brown plumage and white spots on the shoulders are the main features of its coloring. Up to 4,000 people live in the Russian Far East, which is a good number for sea eagles.

  • The white-bellied eagle is common on the continental coast and islands of Southeast Asia from the shores of India to the Philippines and is found in northern Australia. Included in the classifier under the name Haliaeetus leucogaster. This bird has the most varied menu and is more prone to scavengers than other related species. Australians sometimes call them red eagle because of the brown plumage of young birds.

  • The long-tailed eagle has a white head covered with a light brown hood. It is known to science as Haliaeetus leucoryphus. He lives in Central Asia, in the east it reaches Mongolia and China, in the south - to India, Pakistan, Burma.

  • The Screamer Eagle is a resident. Its ability to create unusual screams is even reflected in the Latin name: Haliaeetus vocifer. It breeds all over Africa with the exception of the Sahara. The first half of this bird's name, like all eagles, comes from the ancient Greek word for sea eagle. The second part of the name of this bird was adopted by the French traveler Francois Levalyan in the 18th century.

  • The Madagascar Screamer Eagle is an island dweller in the Indian Ocean. In Latin it is called Haliaeetus vociferoides. It is an endemic species. It inhabits the tropical deciduous forests of Madagascar. It is not known if this species now exists. In 1980 the scientists counted only 25 pairs.

  • Sanford's eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi) breeds chicks in the Solomon Islands. In whose honor it is sometimes called. It's endemic. Described only in 1935. During this time, Dr. Leonard Sanford the Trustee of the American Society for Natural History. For nesting, it prefers the coast, which rises well above the water.

Lifestyle and living space

The common habitat of sea eagles extends from North America to Australia, including Greenland, Africa, most of Eurasia, the Far East, Japan, and the islands of the Malay Archipelago.

They lead mostly sedentary lives but can wander under the pressures of circumstances. These circumstances can be: severe winter, decrease of game, economic activities of the people. Then the birds begin their foraging migrations and change their nesting places.

All species of this bird prefer to perch near the water. For a successful hunt, a pair of eagles needs an area with a coastline of 10 kilometers and a total area of ​​8 hectares.

There must also be a sufficient amount of potential prey. Another requirement for choosing a living space is the remoteness from people and economic facilities.

Bare steppes, desert areas are not suitable for birds, even if there are large bodies of water nearby. Coniferous and mixed forests, uneven relief that turns into rocks - such a landscape attracts birds to arrange a nest.

eat

The eagle menu consists of five main components. First of all, they are medium-sized fish. Waterfowl or waterfowl are also welcome prey. Ground game of various sizes, from rodents to foxes, is the target of these hunters. They do not despise amphibians and reptiles from frogs to snakes. Despite their reputation as a successful predator, eagles enjoy carrion.

Fascinating fishing eagle, picturedand the video allows you to study this masterfully executed action in detail. Large fish are on the lookout in flight or on a high dominating tree.

The hover flight changes to the active flight phase. The predator attacks at a speed of more than 40-50 kilometers per hour and picks up fish with hook claws. A quick and accurate attack is carried out eagle, bird he manages not to soak his feathers. The slaughter and eating of the caught fish can begin in flight.

When hunting ducks, the eagle descends several times. Makes you dive repeatedly. As a result, the victim is exhausted and unable to resist. The predator attacks some birds in the air.

It flies from the bottom up, turns around and hits the loot box with its claws. During the hunt, the bird remembers - the competitors do not sleep. Stealing and weaning food is common. Therefore, the task is not only to catch a bird or fish, but also to quickly take it to a hidden place to eat.

Reproduction and Life Expectancy

Consistency in the relationship with a partner is the rule of many birds of prey. No exception eagle is a birdmake a couple for life. Such a bond between women and men usually leads to the legend that the second dies when a bird dies. It is not known for certain, but it is very likely that the remaining bird will mate with a new mate.

At the age of 4, the birds are ready to expand the genus. (Steller's sea eagles later start breeding at the age of 7). The process of partner selection is little known. But from March to April, pairs are formed and pairing games begin. They consist of shared flights.

Birds chase each other, do somersaults and other acrobatic movements. It turns out to be an intersection between ostentatious dogfighting and dancing. The advertisement is occupied not only by newly created couples, but also by existing ones.

After the flying games, it's time to take care of the nest. Young couples choose a location and build a new refuge. Birds with family experience repair and build on the old nest. It sits on a large tree or ledge.

The main building material for the apartment is branches, inside it is lined with dry grass. At the base, the location for offspring is 2.5 meters. The height can be considerable (1-2 meters) and depends on the number of repairs (superstructures) carried out.

After the repair and construction work is complete, the birds will mate. Most often the female lays two eggs. There are clutches of one or three eggs. The female is constantly incubating. Sometimes it is replaced with a male.

Helpless chicks appear in 35-45 days. The female stays in the nest for another 15 to 20 days to protect and warm the offspring. The male delivers food to the nest - this is his main task. When three chicks hatch, the younger one dies of fierce food competition.

After about 2.5 months, the young fly out of the nest for the first time. Flying is sometimes like falling. In this case, the boy will move on foot before the wings become completely stronger.

Young eagles are properly feathered in 3-3.5 months from the moment they are born. Under suitable climatic conditions, a couple can fly two generations in one season.

Life expectancy in nature is 23-27 years. It should be taken into account that the eagle species live in vast areas under very different conditions. Therefore, the dates at the time of events in the life of birds can be very different.

Even thousands of people white-tailed eagle in the red book listed as an endangered species. Some of the eagles are almost extinct, others could disappear in the 21st century. Therefore, they are protected by states and intergovernmental agreements.

ecology

Basic:

Bald eagle are one of the largest birds of prey native to North America. Their wingspan is up to 2 meters. They are only second in size Californian condors and are the same size as golden eagle.

The heads of these royal birds are covered in white feathers, judging by the name, while the rest of the body is chocolate brown. The birds' legs and beaks are light yellow. Most often, in young birds, the heads and tails are dark, and the wings and whole body can have feathers of different colors - brown and white. The eagles only acquire their characteristic coloring at the age of 5, after they have reached "adulthood".

Young eagles leave the nest 12 weeks after birth. They are monogamous birds and find partners for life.

Adults weigh between 3.6 and 6.4 kilograms. The female bald eagle is slightly larger and heavier than the male. Eagles live quite a long time - an average of 28 years in the wild, in captivity - 36 years.

The calls of the bald eagles consist of a weak whistle that is coarser and more shrill in young birds. Birds cry during the mating season or when warning each other of danger.

Eagles have excellent vision and the special position of the eyes gives them excellent binocular and peripheral vision.

Eagles fly fast and can reach speeds of 56 kilometers per hour at their usual pace, but when hunting prey they can fly at speeds of 120-160 kilometers per hour. The birds hunt together: one eagle frightens the victim, the other grabs it with long sharp claws.

Fish is the favorite food of bald eagles, but they often feed on other birds such as ducks, as well as muskrats and sometimes turtles. They are also not averse to feasting on carrion and can take prey from other birds of prey. The eagle's sharp beak helps it tear prey into pieces easily.

The bald eagle's closest relative is Screamer Eagle ( Haliaeetus Vokifer) live in sub-Saharan Africa and White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) found in Eurasia.

Habitat:

Bald eagles live exclusively in North America off the coasts of the oceans and lakes from Baja California and Florida in the south to Newfoundland and Alaska in the north. They are mainly found near bodies of water, along rivers, the ocean coast, near lakes, reservoirs, and swamps. During the migration season, eagles fly long distances and can be seen in the mountains and plains. In winter, populations of bald eagles migrate into open water from the north and central parts of North America.

Bald eagles breed primarily in Alaska, where they live most: Canada, the Pacific Northwest, the Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico, around the Great Lakes, and other areas that are abundant in water and food. Birds winter along the coast of the United States, some of them even reaching northwestern Mexico.

Conservation status: Least Concerned

When the bald eagle was declared the symbol of the United States in the 18th century, between 25 and 75,000 of these birds were found in nature in 48 states.

The population fell sharply due to habitat destruction, hunting, and the use of DDT poison in the fields, making the eggshells too thin and breaking them prematurely. The use of the poison DDT was only banned in 1972. In 1967 the bald eagle was listed in the Red Book when, according to researchers, there were only 417 breeding pairs left.

17 years after the bald eagle was declared an endangered species, its population has increased significantly, namely ten times more than in 1963. In 2007 these birds were excluded from the Red Book. They are still protected under the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940, but poachers continue to kill birds and eagles continue to lose their habitat.

Interesting facts:

- The bald eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and has long been considered a spiritual symbol by locals as well.

Bald eagles build the largest nests among birds in North America - the nest can be around 4 meters high, 2.5 meters wide, and weighs 1.1 tons.

The eagle can chase a hunting falcon until that smaller predator releases its prey, and the eagle then catches it in midair. Sometimes the eagles brazenly steal the fish caught by the hawks straight from their claws. The eagle can also steal prey from some fishing mammals and even humans.

In some North American cultures, bald eagles were considered sacred birds, like the golden eagle, they were central figures in many religious and spiritual traditions among the Native Americans. Some Indians believed that eagles were spiritual messengers between gods and humans.

In Russia, these birds are often referred to as sea eagles because of their attachment to coastlines and water basins. This is where the sea eagle finds its main prey, the fish.

Description of the sea eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla (white-tailed eagle) belongs to the genus of white-tailed eagles, which belong to the hawk family. The appearance and behavior of the white-tailed eagle (known as gray in Ukraine) is very similar to its American relative, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. For some ornithologists, the similarity of the two species served as the basis for their union into a superspecies.

Look

A large bird of prey of massive shape with strong legs, whose paws (in contrast to the golden eagle, with which the sea eagle is constantly compared) are not covered with feathers up to the toes. The paws are armed with sharply curved claws to catch and hold game, which the bird ruthlessly tears apart with its strong hooked beak. An adult white-tailed eagle grows to 0.7 to 1 m with a weight of 5 to 7 kg and a wingspan of 2 to 2.5 m. It takes its name from the wedge-shaped short tail that is painted white and differs from the general brown background stands out from the body.

That is interesting! Young birds are always darker than adults, have a dark gray beak, dark irises and tails, longitudinal spots on the belly, and a marble pattern on the upper part of the tail. With each moult, the boys more and more resemble older relatives and, after puberty, acquire an adult appearance, which happens no earlier than 5 years and sometimes even later.

The brown plumage of the wings and the body lightens a little towards the head and takes on a yellowish or whitish color. Orlana is sometimes referred to as golden-eyed because of its piercing amber eyes. The legs, like the strong beak, are colored light yellow.

Lifestyle, behavior

The white-tailed eagle is considered the fourth largest feathered predator in Europe and only leaves the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture and the black vulture in front of it. Eagles are monogamous and have been forming an area with a radius of up to 25 to 80 km for decades. There they build permanent nests, hunt and drive away their tribesmen. White-tailed eagles don't go to ceremony with their own chicks either, and send them out of their father's house as soon as they get up on the wing.

Important! According to Buturlin's observations, eagles generally resemble and bear little resemblance to golden eagles, but are more external than internal: their habits and lifestyle are different. The eagle is related to the golden eagle not only by bare tarsus (they are feathered in the eagle), but also by a special roughness on the inner surface of the fingers that helps hold slippery prey.

The white-tailed eagle watches the surface of the water and looks for the fish to dive quickly on and pick it up with its feet. When the fish is deep, the predator goes underwater for a moment, but not enough to lose control and die.

The stories that big fish can pull the eagle underwater are idle fiction in Buturlin's opinion. There are fishermen who claim they saw the claws of an eagle grown into the back of the captured sturgeon.

This is of course impossible - the bird can at any time release its grip, let go of the sturgeon and take off. The flight of an eagle is not as spectacular and impetuous as that of an eagle or a hawk. Against their background, the eagle looks much heavier and differs from the eagle in that its wings are straight and blunt, almost without bending.

The white-tailed eagle often uses its broad, horizontally spread wings to fly in an energy-saving manner with the help of ascending air currents. The eagle sits on the branches and resembles a vulture above all with its characteristic drooping head and ruffled plumage. According to the famous Soviet scientist Boris Veprintsev, who has collected a solid library of bird calls, the white-tailed eagle is characterized by a high-pitched scream "kli-kli-kli ..." or "kyak-kyak-kyak ...". The worried eagle switches to short screams that resemble a metallic creak, something like "kick-kick ..." or "kick-kick ...".

How long does the sea eagle live?

Birds live much longer in captivity than in the wild, and live up to 40 years or more. The white-tailed eagle lives in its natural environment for 25-27 years.

Sexual dimorphism

Women and men differ less in the color of the plumage than in size: women are visually larger and heavier than men. When the latter weigh 5-5.5 kg, the former gain up to 7 kg in mass.

Habitat, habitats

If you look at the Eurasian range of the sea eagle, it stretches from Scandinavia and Denmark to the Elbe Valley, conquers the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, stretches from the Balkan Peninsula across the Anadyr Basin and Kamchatka to the Pacific coast of East Asia.

In its northern part, the area runs along the Norwegian coast (up to the 70th parallel), north of the Kola Peninsula, south of the Kanin and Timan Tundra, along the southern sector of Yamal and on to the Gydan Peninsula up to the 70th Latitude, then to the mouths of the Yenisei and Pyasina (on Taimyr), which lie between the Khatanga and Lena valleys (up to the 73rd parallel) and end near the southern slope of the Chukotka ridge.

In addition, the sea eagle is found in the regions in the south:

  • Asia Minor and Greece;
  • northern Iraq and Iran;
  • underflow of the Amu Darya;
  • the lower reaches of the Alakol, Ili and Zaisan;
  • northeast china;
  • northern mongolia;
  • Korean Peninsula.

The white-tailed eagle also lives on the west coast of Greenland as far as Disko Bay. The bird nests on islands such as the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, Oland, Iceland and Hokkaido. Ornithologists suggest that populations of sea eagles live on the islands of Novaya Zemlya and Vaygach. Previously, the eagle actively nested in the Faroe Islands and British Isles, Sardinia and Corsica. For wintering, the white-tailed eagle chooses European countries, eastern China and southwest Asia.

That is interesting! In the north the eagle behaves like a typical migratory bird, in the southern and central zones - like a sedentary or nomad. Young eagles that live in the center lane usually head south in winter, while the old ones are not afraid to hibernate in unfrozen waters.

In our country, the white-tailed eagle can be found everywhere, but the highest population density is recorded in the Azov, Caspian and Baikal regions, where the bird is most often seen. White-tailed eagles nest mainly near large bodies of water within the mainland and sea coast, which provide the birds with ample food.

White-tailed eagle diet

The eagle's favorite dish is fish (not heavier than 3 kg), which occupies the main place in its diet. However, the predator's food interests are not limited to just fish: it enjoys feasting on forest game (land and birds), and it frequently switches to carrion in winter.

The diet of the sea eagle includes:

  • waterfowl including ducks, loons and geese;
  • (Bobaki);
  • mole rats;

The eagle changes hunting tactics depending on the type and size of the object being pursued. It overtakes the prey in flight or dips it from above, looks out of the air and also watches, sits on the perch or simply takes it away from a weaker predator.

In the steppe, eagles lurk in their caves for bobaks, mole rats and ground squirrels and grab fast mammals like rabbits in flight. A different technique is used in waterfowl (including large, eider-sized ducks) that forces them to dive fearfully.

Important! Usually sick, weak or old animals become victims of eagles. White-tailed eagles clear waters of fish that are frozen, lost and infected with worms. All of this, plus eating carrion, allows us to consider birds real natural caretakers.

Bird watchers are confident that sea eagles maintain the biological balance of their habitats.

Reproduction and Offspring

The white-tailed eagle is a proponent of conservative mating principles, based on which it chooses a mate for the rest of its life... A couple of eagles fly away together for the winter and return to their home nest in the same composition approximately from March to April.

The eagle's nest resembles a family property - birds live in it for decades (with winter breaks), building and restoring as needed. Predators nest on river and lake banks that are overgrown with trees (e.g. oak, birch, pine or willow) or directly on rocks and river cliffs where there is no suitable vegetation for nesting.

Eagles build a nest out of thick branches, line the ground with bits of bark, twigs, grass and feathers, and place it on a solid branch or fork. The main condition is to place the nest as high as possible (15-25 m above the ground) from bottom feeders that invade it.

That is interesting! A new nest is rarely more than 1 meter in diameter, but every year it increases in weight, height and width until it doubles: such buildings often fall down, and the eagles have to rebuild their nests.

The female lays two (rarely 1 or 3) white eggs, sometimes with buffy spots. Each egg is 7–7.8 cm * 5.7–6.2 cm in size. Incubation lasts about 5 weeks and the chicks hatch in May, requiring almost 3 months of parental care. The brood begins to fly at the beginning of August, and the young leave their parents' nests as early as the second half of September and in October.