Imperial Eagle

(Aquila heliaca)




Facts about this animal

Total length from tip of the bill to the tip of the tail is 72 - 84 cm; length of wing from the folded wing to the tip of primaries: mal 55 - 61 cm, females 61 - 67 cm. Weight is from 2.45 kg to 4.53 kg. Sexual dimorphism only in size, with females being slightly larger.

Plumage of the head and upperparts are reddish brown. Crown, nape, sides of head and neck with lanceolate pale tawny buff feathers producing a pale patch. Underparts of the body are blackish brown. Some scapulars of the wings are pure white, forming a white shoulder patch. The tail is basally grey, mottled with dark brown, with a brad sub-terminal black band, tipped whitish. The legs are yellow and the bill is grey, blackish at the tip.

Did you know?
that according to studies carried out in Hungary and Slovakia, the most comm prey species of the Imperial eagle are the hamster, brown hare, suslik, feral pigeon and the introduced common pheasant?


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Aquila heliaca
Name (English) Imperial Eagle
Name (French) Aigle impérial
Name (German) Kaiseradler
Name (Spanish) Aguila imperial
Local names Hungarian: Parlagi sas
Slovakian: Orol král'ovský
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Appendix I



Photo Copyright by
Jan Ševčík



Range Widely distributed in Eurasia and parts of Africa. Africa: Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen Europe: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary Macedonia, former Yug. Rep, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine Vagrants are found in some more countries. The Imperial eagle of the Iberian Peninsula and the Atlas region is now considered to be a separate species (Aquila adalberti).
Habitat Temperate forest, shrubland, grassland, steppe and agricultural areas, wetlands (inland). Originally breeding occured on isolated trees, now often in large mountain-forests.
Wild population It is a rare species. Rapid decline in Europe since the World War II. The World population is now down to a few thousand pairs (1996) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 39 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Imperial Eagle


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Jan Ševčík

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Imperial - or the very similar golden (Royal) - eagle is of major educational interest because it has been used by the Holy Roman Empire, founded by Charlemagne in 800 many countries as a national symbol, depicting power, beauty and independence. It is also widely used as a religious symbol and logo of organizations. Golden eagles are often used in flight shows. Zoos may also keep golden eagles for animal welfare reasons as they may accept to care for injured birds which cannot be returned to the wild. Some zoos afre involved in in situ conservation projects for this vulnerable species.