Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Identity card
Wingspan: 200-220 cm
Plumage (adults): Dark brown, with lighter-coloured coverts and golden brown head
Flight silhouette: Long and quite narrow wings, protruding head and medium-length tail
Environment: Open areas with rocky cliffs
Nest: Holes or ledges in rocky cliffs, seldom on trees
Diet: Mammals, birds, reptiles and carrion
Eggs: 1-2
Presence: Sedentary

Distribution and status
The range of the golden eagle is extremely wide, encompassing North America, Europe, Africa and northern Asia as far as Japan.
About 8,400-11,000 pairs are estimated to live in Europe, including Russia and Turkey, and the species is classified as rare (Birdlife International, 2004).
The largest European populations occur in Turkey (2,000-3,000 pairs), Spain (1,300 pairs) and Norway (860-1,040 pairs).
The Italian population consists of about 500 pairs, mainly nesting on the Alps (400 pairs) and the Apennines. Over the last decades, the species has fairly expanded, especially on the Alps, thanks to increased availability of preys, particularly of wild ungulates, and decreased poaching.
Eight pairs of golden eagle breed in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park.
The species is classified as near threatened in the latest Red List of Italian Fauna (2013).

Poison and other threats
The main human-induced causes of death are electrocution and poison, followed by crashes against power lines, poaching, disturbances during the breeding period and loss of habitat.

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