Alice Springs Desert Park
The Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) is Australia’s largest bird of prey. A majestic looking bird, they have a long wedge tipped diamond shaped tail and fingered wing tips. There wing span reaching more than two metres wide, and their body measuring approximately 1 metre from head to tail-tip (the females are larger than males).
The juvenile birds have brown feathers that become progressively darker as the bird ages. The mature adults are dark brown to black, with white and bronze feathers on their necks and wings. The legs are feathered to the base of the toe. They have a hooked bill and large talons and can weigh just over 4 kg.
The eagles can often be seen soaring high in the thermal updrafts, rarely flapping their wings as they soar the skies in great circles. They are often in pairs, engaging in aerobatic displays, announcing that this is their territory.
They have superb eyesight. Their eyes are equipped with bony rings that can squeeze and elongate the eyeballs, giving them a sophisticated binocular vision, such as can be found in the telephoto lens on a camera.
The wedge-tailed eagles like fresh prey such as rabbits, large lizards, young kangaroos and wallabies. They have a poor sense of smell and taste. The wedge-tailed eagles are also renowned scavengers of carrion, often seen along highways feeding on road kill. This is unfortunately, as many eagles are killed on roads. They are slow to take off from on-approaching vehicles. Please help the eagles, by taking care if you see them along the road. With fresh road kill many people drag the carcass several metres off the road to help protect the many scavengers that feed on them.
Images © Dorothy L / Images © Ausemade Pty Ltd
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- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Accipitriformes
- Family: Accipitridae
- Genus: Aquila
- Species: A. audax
- Binomial name: Aquila audax
Footnote & References
- Wedge-tailed eagle, Alice Springs Desert Park, https://alicespringsdesertpark.com.au/connect-with-nature/animals/animals/wedge-tailed-eagle