Birds – Wedge-tailed Eagle

In Australia and Tasmania there is a large, powerful Eagle that was formerly associated with the true Eagles, but which is now separated from them mainly on account of the fact that the tail is strongly wedge-shaped, when closed the middle pair of feathers exceeding the others by more than the length of the tarsus. The Wedge-tailed Eagle ( Uroaëtus Audax), as it is appropriately called, is about thirty-eight inches long and is, in the adult, mainly blackish brown in color, with the edges and extremities of the feathers stained with pale brown, while the back and sides of the neck are rusty reddish. The young have all the feathers of the upper parts tipped and stained with rusty, while the head and back are deep fawn-color and the breast and throat blackish brown. It frequents the plains and open crowns of the hills, and while it feeds mostly upon living prey, such as small mammals and birds, it is also fond of offal and carrion, and Gould mentions the fact that he once saw thirty or forty individuals assembled around the carcass of a dead bullock, “some gorged to the full, perched upon the neighboring trees, the rest still in the enjoyment of the feast.” The nests are of large size and composed of sticks and branches and placed in very high trees, often more than a hundred feet from the ground. The eggs are similar to those of the Golden Eagle. As this species often commits extensive ravages among the lambs on the sheep ranges, it is killed by the stock-owners whenever and by whatever means possible.