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Magra | by ianmichaelthomas
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Beautiful Magra is a female Wedge-tailed Eagle, another famous star of the Healesville Sanctuary's Birds Of Prey Free Flight Show.

Wedge-tailed eagles are the world's fourth largest eagle, and Australia's largest raptor.

"Wedgies" as they are locally informally known as, are Australia's biggest bird of prey, and the world's 4th largest eagle. Magra weighs 4Kg, and is fully grown with an enormous wingspan of nearly 9 feet!

Wedge-tailed eagles can weigh as much as 5kg.


The Wedge-tailed Eagle or Eaglehawk (Aquila audax) is the largest raptor in Australia and is the most common of all the world's large eagles. It has long, fairly broad wings, fully feathered legs, and an unmistakable wedge-shaped tail. Because of both its tail and its size—it is one of the largest birds in the world—it can be identified at a glance as a "Wedgie" even by the non-expert.

The Wedge-tailed Eagle is one of twelve species of large predominantly dark-coloured eagles in the genus Aquila found worldwide; a large brown bird of prey, it has a wingspan averaging over 2 m (7 ft) and an average length of around 1m (3 ft). Latest research indicates it forms a worldwide superspecies with Verreaux's Eagle, Gurney's Eagle and the Golden Eagle.


As with many raptors, the female is much larger than the male, averaging around 4.2 kg (9.2 lbs) and sometimes over 5.5 kg (12 lbs). Males are typically around 3.2 kg (7 lbs). Length varies between 0.9 metres (3 ft) and 1.15 metres (3 ft 9 in), wingspan from 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) to 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in).

Young Wedge-tailed Eagles are a mid-brown colour with slightly lighter, reddish-brown wings and head. As they grow older, their colour becomes gradually darker, reaching a dark blackish-brown shade after about ten years. Adult females tend to be slightly paler than males. Although it rarely needs to be distinguished from other Aquila eagles, its long, wedge-shaped tail is a feature unique to this species.

Wedge-tails are found throughout Australia, including Tasmania, and southern New Guinea in almost all habitats, though they tend to be more common in lightly timbered and open country in southern and eastern Australia.

They are highly aerial, soaring for hours on end without wingbeat or effort, regularly reaching 6000 feet (2000 m) and sometimes considerably higher.


Photo taken at Healesville Sanctuary, approx 60 km from Melbourne, Victoria


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Taken on February 3, 2008