basic information

Steppe Eagle

Aquila nipalensis (Hodgson,1833)

Степной орел | Дала қыраны

Almaty area. Sorbulak.
© Andrey Kovalenko


Breeds in the steppe, semi-desert and desert zones of the central part of Kazakhstan. On dispersals and migration occurs everywhere. Please see detailed distribution in the section Subspecies.


Common breeding migrant. Inhabits the arid steppes, semi-deserts and northern part of desert zone with rock outcrop, the low xerophytic mountains and foothills of high ridges, in places of rodents living. In mountains nests up to 2000 m. Appears in March or in early April, the latest migrants observed at Chokpak Pass in mid-May. Breeds in separate pairs, 0.5-1.5 km apart from each other. Nest is built on the small hills among the shrub spots; nest is built on ground, on rocks or on separate trees, from the dry twigs and is lined with grass, rags, horse droppings; and used for some years. Laying of 1-3 eggs is in April – early May. Chicks hatch from the end of May. Both parents feed nestlings which fledge in the age about 60 days old, from the end of June to early August. The autumn migration begins from the end of August; majority of Steppe Eagles fly off in September. The significant migration traffic was noticed in north-westerly from Emba river area and Mugodzhar mountains through the Ustyurt plateau. On Chokpak Pass the peak of migration is in October when the scattered flocks of several dozen Steppe Eagles are common, and several hundreds Eagles can be counted in one day.


Aquila nipalensis orientalis (Cabanis, 1854)

    Description. The somewhat lighter and lesser subspecies. Male wing length 515-560 (535), female 550-605 (575) mm.
    Distribution. Widespread occurs on nesting, breeds in north to Uralsk, Naurzum steppes, Tengiz-Kurgaldzhinskaya depression, Krasnokutsk village in Pavlodar Trans-Irtysh area, Semipalatinsk and Kalbinskiy Alai; eastward to Zaysan depression, foothills of Tarbagatay ridge, Dzhungarskiy Alatau and Sogety valley, where appears only in recent decade. In eastern Kazakhstan intergrades with nipalensis. Vagrants observed in north from breeding range, at Markakol lake recorded 8 June 1876. Winters in Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve (1991/92) and on Chardara reservoir, where three birds were recorded 18-21 December 2003.

Aquila nipalensis nipalensis (Hodgson,1833)

    Description. The darker and larger subspecies. Male wing length 565-610 (585), female 600-645 (625) mm.
    Distribution. Occupies the Asian part of species range westward to Altai. Within the borders of Kazakhstan may be found on migration in Tien Shan foothills.


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург. Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.



Aquila nipalensis orientalis
(Cabanis, 1854)
Aquila nipalensis nipalensis


Aquila (nipalensis x heliaca)

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