1200. Aquila chrysaetus.
The Golden Eagle.
Falco chrysaetus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 125 (1766). Aquila chrysaetus, Blyth, Cat. p. 26; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 47 ; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 55; id. Ibis, 1871, p. 244; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 139; id. S. F. i, p. 157 ; id. Cat. no. 26; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 235 ; Unwin, P. Z. S. 1874, p. 208; Scully, S. F. iv, p. 123 ; Gurney, Ibis, 1877, p. 210; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 41; Scully, ibid. p. 419; C. H. T. Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 406; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 25; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 130; Sharpe, Yarkand Miss., Aves, p. 7.
Muriari, H, Chamba.
Coloration. Adult. Feathers of lores whitish, with black hair-like tips; crown and sides of head dark brown; feathers of nape, hind-neck, and sides of neck lanceolate, rufous tawny, dark brown at the base and black-shafted; rest of plumage blackish brown ; the feathers of the upper parts white or mottled with white towards the base, the pale mottling being conspicuous on the inner secondaries and scapulars; tail with more or less distinct mottled bands of pale brownish grey except near the end; upper tail-coverts, bend of wing, thigh-coverts, and under tail-coverts generally rufous-brown.
Young birds are glossy brownish black; the crown and nape more tawny; the basal two-thirds of the tail greyish white, all body-feathers white at the base. The general tint varies from black to brownish black, blotched in places with brown and whity brown. There is, as usual in raptorial birds, a gradual change from the young or ring-tail plumage to that of the adult.
Bill dark horny ; irides hazel-brown; cere and feet yellow.
Length of male about 35 inches ; tail 13; wing 24.5. Length of a female about 40 inches ; tail 14; wing 27.5; tarsus 4; bill from gape to point straight 2.75. The toes and claws are very large, the hind claw (not including the toe) measures from 2.5 to 3-5 round the curve.
Distribution. Throughout Europe, Northern Africa, Northern and Central Asia, and North America, chiefly about mountainous districts. This Eagle breeds in the higher Himalayas, and Mr. Hume thought he recognized it in the Sind hills and on the Makran coast. Other reported Indian localities are probably due to error.
Habits, &c. The Golden Eagle, though by no means the largest, is one of the most powerful of predatory birds. It lives on gallinaceous birds and on mammals, such as hares, lambs, kids, fawns, &c, and it is said occasionally to attack even wolves, but it does not disdain carrion. It is kept tame in Central Asia, and employed to capture gazelles. It makes a large nest of dried sticks, lined with grass, moss, or other plants, sometimes on rocks, often on a tree, and lays usually two eggs, occasionally pure white, more often blotched with rufous-brown, measuring about 2.87 by 2.25.