A splendid flier, the Golden Eagle spends most of its time gliding. When it dives groundward, it could reach speeds of 240 to 320 km/h (150 to 200 MPH). It does so occasionally, for it primarily eats mammals such as marmots, rabbits and hares, which are taken from the ground. Occasionally it strikes large birds such as geese and cranes in mid-air. Contrary to legend, the Golden Eagle seldom preys on domestic animals.
Golden Eagles live throughout most of the northern hemisphere. Nests are built on crags or in trees, and are sometimes occupied for generations. The young hatch at intervals of several days. The elder sometimes kills the younger, especially if food is scarce.
Golden Eagles are generally 70 to 84 cm (27 to 33 in.) long, and their wingspan ranges from 185 to 220 cm (72 to 86 in.). Females are larger than males.