Many of the world's deserts provide habitat for nature's largest bird of prey, the eagle. Even the North American bald eagle has adapted to live in dry desert climate. These birds of prey eat what is available, including reptiles and smaller birds, to survive the arid landscape. Australia has its own native eagle known as the wedge tailed eagle. The African savannah also hosts a species of desert nesting eagle.
The golden eagle is an open area hunter found in the deserts, grasslands and high altitudes of the western coast of North America, Eurasia and northern Africa. Golden eagles are brown with signature golden blond feathers along the back of the neck. Adults can weigh up to 5.67 Kilogram with wingspans of up to 7.5 feet, according to Desert USA. It is an excellent predator, commonly hunting prairie dogs, ducks, rabbits, squirrels and reptiles.
Desert Bald Eagle
The desert nesting bald eagle of the Southwestern United States is a rare and endangered adaptation of the traditional bald eagle. It lives only in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had some disagreement over whether or not the desert eagle is a distinct species. In February 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service ruled against separating the two adaptations. This was disappointing to conservationists, who hoped that a distinction would give the desert bald eagle the protection it requires, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.
Wedge Tailed Eagle
The wedge tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in Australia and New Guinea. It nests along the edges of mountain ranges and hunts in Australia's open desert woodlands. Female wedge tailed eagles are larger than males, weighing up to 4.08 Kilogram. Its wingspans can reach lengths of more than 8 feet. It is black with long feathered legs and a diamond-shaped tail. It eats lizards, small kangaroos and rabbits, but is also known to scavenge road kill.
The African Sahara is home to the black and white martial eagle. This large bird lives in the semi-deserts of the Sahara throughout southwest Africa, and is commonly found in Zimbabwe and Namibia. This predator weighs up to 5.9 Kilogram with a wingspan between 6 and 9 feet. The martial eagle preys upon small animals including impalas, hares, baboons, mongooses, tiny antelopes and hyraxes.