Eagles are admired the world over as living symbols of power, freedom, and transcendence.
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Facts about eagles
- There are more than 60 different species of eagle.
- Eagles are different from many other birds of prey mainly by their larger size, more powerful build, and heavier head and beak. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors apart from vultures.
- Eagles have unusual eyes. They are very large in proportion to their heads and have extremely large pupils. Eagles’ eyes have a million light-sensitive cells per square mm of retina, five times more that a human’s 200,000. While humans see just three basic colours, eagles see five. These adaptations gives eagles extremely keen eyesight and enable them to spot even well-camouflaged potential prey from a very long distance. In fact the eagles’ vision is among the sharpest of any animal and studies suggest that some eagles can spot an animal the size of a rabbit up to two miles away!
- Many eagle species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched. Adults do not intervene.
- The Harpy Eagle and the Philippine Eagle have wings that spread 2.5m across and use their massive, sharp talons, to kill and carry off prey as large as deer and monkeys.
- In Greece, Golden Eagles eat turtles, dropping them from great heights onto rocks to break open their armoured shells.
- Although most eagles are carnivorous the African Vulturine Fish-Eagle is primarily a vegetarian, feeding on rich oil palm fruits.
- Some eagles are built with short wings and long tails enabling them to hunt in the tight confines of a forest, while others are have short tails and broad long wings allowing them to soar high above open plains and water.
- Golden eagles in Wyoming have been observed foraging areas that cover 100 square miles.
- To defend their territories and attract a mate, bald eagles put on spectacular aerial displays including death-defying swoops and seemingly suicidal dogfights that involve locking talons with another bird and free-falling in a spiral.
- Eagles are admired the world over as living symbols of power, freedom, and transcendence.
- The spot on which an eagle landed dictated to the ancient Aztecs the place where they were to build a city.
- In some religions, high-soaring eagles are believed to touch the face of God.
- Native Americans historically gave eagle feathers to non-indigenous people and also members of other tribes who were deemed worthy.
- Although many eagle populations are dwindling as a result of habitat destruction, hunting, and pollution, conservation efforts are helping some species such as the Bald Eagle which has made a dramatic comeback in the U.S. over the last few decades.
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