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Steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis

July 29, 2021

The steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) is a globally endangered, full migrant raptor that breeds in the southern temperate zone from European Russia in the west to eastern Mongolia, Dauria and adjacent north-eastern China in the east. It winters in Africa, the Middle East and Southern and South-Eastern Asia, and migrations can sometimes entail journeys > 10,000 km in length. Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia are the breeding strongholds. Declines in the breeding population, which are estimated to total 50-60%, are most obvious in Europe. Migration occurs during August-October, and again during February–April. For some populations, migration paths form notable clockwise loops, as steppe eagles use different seasonal flyways to avoid barriers such as the Red Sea, the Gobi Desert or the Himalayas. Threats to the population include loss of habitat, persecution, inadvertent poisoning, and electrocution. Very large aggregations settle at anthropogenically-generated waste disposal sites, and these sometimes provide potential for mass poisonings and increased risk of electrocution. Creation of new waste disposal sites may have caused changes in the wintering distribution of steppe eagles in recent decades. Robust regional and range-wide population estimates are lacking, as are important details about food availability and risk of poisoning and electrocution, and these gaps undermine effective management.

Publication Year 2021
Title Steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis
Authors Michael J. McGrady, Evgeny A. Bragin, Igor Karyakin, Nyambayar Batbayar, Todd E. Katzner
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70229668
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center