In search of the Maltese Falcon #10 - Steppe Eagle, Malta Falconry Centre
This is a large eagle with brown upper parts and blackish flight feathers and tail. This species is larger and darker than the Tawny Eagle, and it has a pale throat which is lacking in that species. The call of the Steppe Eagle is a crow-like barking, but it is rather a silent bird except in display. Immature birds are less contrasted than adults, but both show a range of variation in plumage colour.
The Steppe Eagle breeds from Romania east through the south Russian and central Asian steppe to Mongolia. Throughout its range it favours open dry habitats, such as desert, semi-desert, steppe, or savannah.
Most prey is taken on the ground, but they can also catch active birds in full flight and can even kill flying flamingos. Mainly, they eat anything from termites to dead elephants. They will also kill live animals to the size of dik-dik, hare, gazelle calf, and as small as grass mice. They will take birds including game birds and will also take some reptiles, amphibians, and locusts. Additionally, they will eat carrion and will attack larger species like Martial Eagles and steal their freshly killed prey.