Steppe Eagle

(Aquila nipalensis)




Facts about this animal

The Steppe eagle (A.n. nipalensis) has a total length from tip of the bill to the tail of 72 to 81 cm, weigth is 2.4 to 3.9 kg. General appearance is dark brown. Wing flight feathers are blackis, with primaries being banded. Legs and cere are yellow. the bill is grey wih a dark tip. Iris is brown. The second subspecies (A.n. orientalis) is slightly smaller and paler.

The breeding populations move south from about October, on fairly broad fronts.Western populations pass both north and south of the Caspian Sea, with main concentrations crossing into Africa at either end of the Red Sea after having flown through Israel and Suez or straight across Arabia to Yemen. Individuals wintering in Africa return from January-February. Movements of the eastern populations are not well known, but some almost certainly winter with western populations in north-east Africa (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).
Nests are built on the ground or on trees.

Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Aquila nipalensis
Name (English) Steppe Eagle
Name (French) Aigle des steppes
Name (German) Steppenadler
Name (Spanish) Aguila Esteparia
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II



Photo Copyright by
Jiri Bohdal



Range Souht-eastern Europa, Russia east to Lake Balkash and Eastern Kazakhstan, Altai and Tibet east to Manchuria. Winters in South Asia, Middle East, Arabia, Eastern and South Africa.
Habitat Open dry habitat like steppe and semi-deserts, in mountains up to 2.300 M, in lowlands and low hills.
Wild population Global population trends have not been quantified, but this species is thought to be not global threatened and still common in many areas. Has disappeard from Romania, Moldavia and Ukraine due to habitat destruction.
Zoo population 62 birds of the subspecies nipalensis and 13 of the subspecies reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Steppe 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
Jiri Bohdal

Why do zoos keep this animal

The Steppe eagle is of major educational interest because it is a typical representative of the genus Aquila, which includes also the Royal and the Imperial eaglesSteppe eagles are often used in flight shows and may serve as ambassadors for the threatened grasslands of Central Asia. Steppe habitats in central Asia have suffered important land use changes during this century which are similar to those that have been pointed out as the causes of the decline of steppe birds in western Europe. In Central Asia, Steppe eagles are also of cultural interest as, in their Asian range, they are widely used for traditional falconry. Zoos may also keep Steppe eagles for animal welfare reasons as they may accept to care for injured birds which cannot be returned to the wild.