An eagle is a truly powerful and majestic bird, and the heroic figure of the tawny eagle is no exception. With its extraordinary vision, sharp claws, strong beak, and magnificent feathers, this bird is truly not one to miss. A tawny eagle is a bird with brown eyes and microscopic vision that he uses to detect prey from great heights. They also have a sharp and curved beak to cut through the flesh of prey and heavily feathered legs with sharp nails, as well as a very high body temperature. Tawny means 'brown', as these birds are generally found in reddish-brown or dark brown colors, often with streaked dark lines in the feathers too. The adult tawny eagle tends to have a different color body to its head. Tawny eagles also have a long and slightly curved tail and enormous wings that can grow between 5.64-6.07 ft (1.7-1.8 m) in length. These tawny eagles (also know as booted eagles) are widely found in southern Africa, the Indian subcontinent, both north and south of the Sahara desert, and areas in the Middle East.
A tawny eagle is a large-sized bird that belongs to the Animalia kingdom and the Accipitridae family. In the past, the steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) and the tawny eagle were considered as the same, but later studies into the genetic difference between the two birds proved that they are slightly different species. Looks-wise the tawny eagle has a sharp light yellow colored beak with piercing eyes, sharp claws, and brown flight feathers. Unlike other birds, it is a non-migrant bird of prey.
What class of animal does a Tawny Eagle belong to?
Like other eagles, the tawny eagle belongs to the Aves class and has the scientific name Aquila rapax. One unique character of the tawny eagle in this class, it that it prefers live prey. This is why you are more likely to find tawny eagles in desert areas or areas where trees are absent. Also interestingly, the female tawny eagle is usually slightly bigger compared to the male tawny eagle.
How many Tawny Eagles are there in the world?
The overall population of this species is between 100,000 and 499,999 worldwide. However, the population of these birds is drastically reducing due to the lack of availability of tall trees and due to habitat pollution.
Where does a Tawny Eagle live?
Tawny Eagle prefers to stay in dry areas such as deserts, high range mountains, open areas, and savannas. Tawny Eagles don't like the woods because it can be challenging to fly in such dense areas. Because of the dry habitats on offer here, they are often found in South Africa and both north and south of the Sahara desert.
What is a Tawny Eagle's habitat?
A Tawny Eagle prefers to stay near water sources and near open and dry areas, like deserts, semi-deserts, high mountains, and savannas. They build their nest on dry trees and lay between one to three eggs in this nest built with sticks and dry grass. Sometimes they also lay their eggs on the ground.
Who do Tawny Eagles live with?
Eagles are the only birds that don't live in packs, and for many, this behavior makes this beautiful bird an impressive hawk. Despite this solitary lifestyle, when a large amount of food is available, tawny eagles may appear in a group of between 20 to 30 birds, all searching for the same supply of food.
How long does a Tawny Eagle live?
On average a tawny eagle lives for at least 16 years. At the moment, the oldest tawny eagle age is recorded as 60 years.
How do they reproduce?
Tawny eagles only reproduce once a year. In the Asian continent, the breeding season is from April to July, whereas in Africa the breeding season is from October to June. They partake in sexual reproduction and for this reproduction they choose only one mate at a time, hence they are monogamous. During the breeding season, the male tawny eagle gives a signal that he is ready to mate by roaming around the nesting site and making small movements of his wings and typical mating sounds. When the female tawny eagle becomes aware of this she responds to the male by locking her claws.
Females lay between one and three eggs in a nest built on trees or on the ground. Throughout the breeding process, both male and female eagles spend time with the eggs and the female eagle hatches her eggs after approximately 45 days. The young chicks will become completely independent after just 120 days. Before this time, it is both the male and female birds' duty to provide food for their young.
What is their conservation status?
The conservation status of these Tawny Eagles is Vulnerable. It was upgraded from Least Concern Vulerbable in 2018. This is because in recent times the population of this species has reduced drastically. Deforestation and pollution are the main reasons for this.
Tawny Eagle Fun Facts
What do Tawny Eagles look like?
The Tawny Eagle is a large-sized bird that belongs to the Accipitridae family. The feathers on their head are a tawny, brown color, hence the name tawny eagle. They also have dashing yellow-brown eyes and a pale lower back with lighter brown flight feathers and tail feathers. They have incredible vision which helps them to hunt prey from above.
How cute are they?
This noble bird is more powerful than cute in the way it looks. So whilst we cannot describe these amazing birds as cute, they are certainly impressive birds. Despite this, it can be said that young tawny eagle chicks have very cute looks with their little yellow feet and beaks.
How do they communicate?
Generally, the tawny eagle is a silent species, but while mating the male sends out signals to females specific signals by making harsh and creaking sounds. Their voice is booming and can be heard even from long distances. Sometimes they also make sounds when searching for food or water. Young chicks too will make small sounds, but this becomes a loud call once they grow older.
How big is a Tawny Eagle?
The tawny eagle has a large body with large feathers and an impressive tail. The average tawny eagle wingspan can be between 5.64-6.07 ft (1.7-1.8 m) long. Compared to the steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) and the golden eagle, the weight of the tawny eagle is quite low for an eagle, at 4.4-5.5 lb (2-2.5 kg).
How fast can a Tawny Eagle fly?
Like all eagles, the tawny eagle flies at great heights. They fly on average at between 1,968 and 14,760 ft high and they are experts in gliding without flapping for a long time. The exact speed of this species is not currently known, but the tawny eagle is often compared with the steppe eagle who flies at 60 km per hour in horizontal flight, and can reach speeds of up to 300 km per hour in diving flight.
How much does a Tawny Eagle weigh?
The weight of a female tawny eagle is slightly more than the weight of a male. The average weight for a tawny eagle is anywhere between 4.4-5.5 lb (2-2.5 kg).
What are their male and female names of the species?
There are no particular names for female and males in the tawny eagle species. Both males as females are simply referred to as eagles.
What would you call a baby Tawny Eagle?
Baby eagles are called fledglings or eaglets and they have cute little yellow feet and beaks, and brown eyes.
What do they eat?
Tawny Eagles eat insects, small birds, rats, rodents, small mammals like rabbits, raccoons, or roadkill. They mostly prefer live prey and are famous for their hunting skills. The tawny eagle eats an average of 0.5 lb (250 g) of food every day. As they are often found in desert habitats, it is not always possible to eat food on a regular basis so they sometimes go days without eating.
Are they loud?
Generally, they are silent and only make sounds when attacking or during the mating season.
Would they make a good pet?
This heavily feathered bird would not make a good pet. In fact, it is illegal to keep a tawny eagle as a pet. These birds cannot be kept in cages or in homes, as they belong in the wild.
Did you know...
Both male and female Tawny eagles share equal duties in building a nest, incubating eggs, providing food for fledglings, and keeping the young fledglings safe. Just like mammals, they take care of their young chicks very carefully, both day and night.
Whilst tawny eagles themselves are not black in color, there are eagles with black feathers to be found. In fact, the Ictinaetus malaiensis is known as the black eagle. You can tell a true eagle by examining their feathers or looking out for their curved talons.
Tawny Eagles are known as ‘kleptoparasites’. This means that they are experts in stealing food from a long distance in seconds.
The Tawny Eagle's hunting cycles
Tawny Eagles are day hunters who hunt during the daytime for their prey. They hunt small insects, snakes, and small mammals like rabbits by flying down while they are gliding. Adult tawny eagles do not have any predators, but hawks, humans, and snakes can attack young chicks in their nests.
Comparisons with other birds of prey
Tawny eagles can be subdivided into three species which differ in size, patterns, and color:
The Aquila rapax vindhiana is found mainly in India, Pakistan, and other Asian regions.
The Aquila rapax belisarius is found in Africa and in Middle Eastern nations.
The Aquila rapax rapax is found in African and sub-Saharan regions.
The other names by which tawny eagles are sometimes known as are the Eurasian tawny eagle, the Indian Tawny Eagle, and booted eagles.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the secretary bird, or the great green macaw.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.
We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.
Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.
We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.