Aquila heliaca   (Savigny,   1809) (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyright: pbase

Length 0.92 meters; wingspan 2.14 meters; mass 3.6 kilograms.

Color: Adults are black-brown in color. They have a pale golden crown and nape, and a grey base that extends to the tail. They also have very apparent white "braces" on their scapulars. Juveniles are paler and more variegated than the adults. They are yellow-brown with rump, wing, and tail patterns similar to the patterns of the Lesser Spotted, pale Spotted, Tawny and Steppe eagles. They are distinguished from these eagles, however, by the bolder streaks on their under-wings and body, the lack of a pale band under the wing-coverts, and their larger and more majestic build.

Breeding: Imperial Eagles are ready to breed for the first time when they are about four years old. When they reach this age, they find a mate whom they stay with for life. If one happens to die, however, the other will usually find a new mate and breed the next year. Every pair will build a nest, called an eyrie, in the top of a tree. These nests are generally made mainly with sticks, and are used only during the spring and summer months. Females will generally lay two eggs a year. Sometimes, however, they will lay three eggs, and on a few rare occasions they will lay four.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Eastern Imperial Eagle (English)
• Imperial Eagle (English)
• Asian Imperial Eagle (English)
• Jumiz, Bada jumiz, Satangal (Hindi)
• Shahi jummas (Gujrati)
• Frus
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Breeding sites are threatened primarily by intensive forestry in the mountains, and by the shortage of large indigenous trees in the lowlands. Other threats are loss and alteration of feeding habitats, shortages of small and medium-sized prey species (particularly ground-squirrels Spermophilus spp.), human disturbance of breeding sites, nest robbing and illegal trade, shooting, poisoning and electrocution by powerlines. Hunting, poisoning, prey depletion and other mortality factors are also likely to pose threats along migration routes and in wintering areas)
Threats:  Natural threats
(Competition for nest sites with Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga has been reported.)
Importance:  Commercial
(Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Imperial Eagles are beneficial to farmers and ranchers because they feed on rabbits and other small mammals. By eating these animals, the Imperial Eagle reduces their numbers, and thus reduces the damage they can do. This eagle also feeds on venomous reptiles, many of which have been known to cause serious harm to humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Although rare, Imperial Eagles have been known to attack humans who come too close to their nests. They may dive at a person who gets too close and strike at them with their talons.)

Trophic Level:  Consumer
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable


• Gujarat, Saurashtra (Lat: 21.97) (Long: 70.5) INDIA
• Gujarat, Kutch INDIA
• Himachal Pradesh (Lat: 32.25) (Long: 77.56) INDIA
• Kashmir (Lat: 34.30) (Long: 76.81) INDIA
• Maharashtra, Satara district INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Vernacular names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent Buceros, Envis newsletter: Avian Ecology & Inland Wetlands 62pp Available at -
  • Manakadan R and Pittie A (2001) Standardized English names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent BUCEROS Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetland 6(1) 26pp Available at -
  • Kumar A, sati JP and Tak CK (2003) Checklist of Indian Waterbids Buceros Envis Newsletter: Avian ecology and inland wetlands 8(1) 30pp Available at -
  • Global Available at -
  • Ali S and Ripley SD (1968) Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan Oxford university press 1 1-368pp Available at - NIO
  • Pawar SM, Ganeshwade RM and Sonawane SR (2010) Avian fauna along three water reservoir from Satara district (Maharashtra), India The Bioscan 5(4) 609-612pp Available at -
  • PBase Available at -

Page last updated on:2013-03-11

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