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25 Eagle Facts That Will Knock You Over with a Feather

 When we think of beautiful birds, eagles don’t often come to mind. Yet, eagles are among nature’s most wonderful creatures, and humans have recognized this for a long time. These carnivorous, mysterious birds are frequently taken as symbols of power, courage, and freedom, which are beautiful traits in themselves. Have a look at these wonderful 12 photographs, while you read 25 facts about these most interesting birds of prey.
 
Click on images to enlarge
1. There are around 60 different species of eagles in the world. Most of these live in Africa and Eurasia, with others found in Australia and the Americas.
2. Almost all eagles are carnivorous, yet the vulturine fish eagle native to sub-Saharan Africa mainly eats oil palm fruit.
3. The largest of all eagles (including the Harpy and Philippine) have a wingspan that reaches more than 8 feet. Some have killed very large prey, such as deer, goats, and monkeys!
4. Female eagles are stronger than males in most eagle species.
5. The martial eagle (and some other species) can soar in the sky for many hours without beating their wings at all. They do so by relying on rising columns of hot air, called thermals.
6. A lot of eagle species lay two eggs. In some rare cases (less than 4%), the first eagle to hatch kills its sibling, and their parents don’t try to stop this fratricide.
7. The heaviest eagle in the world, the Steller’s sea eagle, can weigh over 20 lbs (9 kg).
8. Eagles have tremendous eyesight. Whereas humans see three basic colors, eagles see five. They have five times more light sensitive cells (1 million) per square mm of retina than we do. 
9. The largest ever recorded kill made by an eagle was of a duiker deer, which, at 82 lbs (37 kg), weighed around eight times more than the martial eagle that killed it.
10. Eagles tend to have varied diets, yet some are much more specialized. Verreaux’s eagle, for instance, only eats rock hyraxes.
11. The national animal of the Philippines, the giant Philippine eagle is critically endangered. If someone in the Philippines is convicted of killing one, they can face up to 12 years in prison.
12. The largest ever tree nest that we know of was built by a bald eagle. It was 13 feet (4 m) deep, 8.2 feet (2.5 m) wide, and weighed 1.1 short tons (1 metric ton).
13. Known for their high intelligence, eagles in Greece eat turtles by dropping them onto rocks to break open their shells.
 
14. From Roman times until the Middle Ages, some writers believed that eagles were able to look directly at the sun. If their fledglings could not do so without blinking, it was said they would be expelled from the family nest.
15. 25 countries in the world today use an eagle image for their coat of arms, probably because of the creature’s reputation as the ‘King of Birds.’
16. Bald eagles aren’t bald, though the name suggests so. The ‘bald’ actually comes from the obsolete word ‘piebald’, which is said to refer to their white heads.
17. Eagles can lock themselves into position in such a way that they can sleep while perched on a branch.
18. Eagles put on spectacular aerial displays to attract mates and defend their territories. For the same reason, they fight viciously with each other, locking talons in a free-falling spiral.
19. There are four loose groups of eagles: fish eagles (that feed on fish), booted eagles (with feathered lower legs), snake eagles (that hunt reptiles), and Harpy eagles (that live in tropical forests).
20. Around half of an eagle’s body mass is made up by an astonishing 7,000 feathers.
21. The golden eagle is the fastest of the bunch, able to reach speeds of 200 mph (320 km/h). This makes it the second fastest bird in the world, next to the peregrine falcon.
22. 68% of all bald eagle deaths are human-caused. 23% die when they hit man-made objects and structures, like wires, cars, or buildings, 22% die after being shot, 5% after being trapped, 9% are electrocuted, and 11% are poisoned.
23. Relative to their size, the wings of an eagle have greater strength and power than an airplane’s wings.
24. Bald eagles have a small hole in their tongue which is an opening to its respiratory system.
25. While other birds of prey tend to look over their shoulder to see whether they are being followed, eagles do not, perhaps because they are so sure of themselves. 

H/T: list25.com

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