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Golden Eagle

Irish: Iolar Fíréan
Latin: Aquila chrysaetos

Large soaring and gliding bird with 190-225cm (6ft) wingspan. The plumage is mostly dark brown with a yellowish-brown (golden) neck and head. Immature eagles have varying amounts of white on upper and lower wings and the base of the tail, decreasing until adult plumage is gained after 4-5 years.

Typically found in mountains, hunting in wide open landscapes with short vegetation and restricted tree cover. Also found along remote coastal plains.

Its main food preference across its range is medium sized mammals such as hares and Rabbits and a variety of birds including seabirds. Carrion including dead sheep and deer can also be an important part of the diet especially in winter.

Golden Eagles only start to breed at 4-5 years of age. Their home range or territory may contain 3-8 alternative eyries. Large stick nest built on cliffs, crags or in trees. Two egg clutch laid in mid March and hatch after 42-44 days in early May. Young leave the nest after 65-75 days.

Became extinct in Ireland in 1912. One pair bred in County Antrim 1953-1959. Reintroduced to County Donegal in 2001 and as a result bred unsuccessfully in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 a wild young eagle fledged from an eyrie in Glenveagh National Park.