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Giant Eagles

A bird--but impossibly big for a bird--flies overhead. As it gets further away and out of the sun, a rider can be seen on its back, with only a simplistic harness to hang on. The rider guides the bird with nothing visible, but if it could be felt from so far, it would be observed that their magic energies are entwined, and the rider is directing the eagle by that bond.   This is the great eagle of Egdom. Tamed by these people in a partnership for generations, the eagles exchange their service in flight for food, nest, and the companionship of their human partners. The captive ones have been willingly bred for endurance, speed, beauty, and any other quality desirable. They are temperamental at times, often times refusing to carry any but their partner or just refusing outright to fly on a given day. But, ultimately, both human and eagle understand each other, and have a mutual respect. The people of Egdom are proud of their eagles, and the eagles are proud of them.

Basic Information

Anatomy

They are closest likened to eagles, so that is what they are named. In reality, they aren't as swift as eagles, with wings designed to carry them far instead of fast. Their coloration and predation habits closely resemble eagles of some sort, though they do have a wide variety of features and coloration that could never be passed off as an eagle. For example, a crest of small peacock-like feathers in the shade of the bird, or billowy, feathery feathers on their feet.

Genetics and Reproduction

They have dominant and recessive traits, like any creature, and this is reflected in their offspring. A female will lay anywhere from 1-3 eggs. Any more risks the parents not being able to provide. They pair off once a year if they desire, and can switch partners every year. They come together to mate and raise the chicks, then go their separate ways unless they pair off again in a future year.

Growth Rate & Stages

Once the eggs are laid, about ten days apart if there are multiple, they incubate for three months through the end of winter and the harshest part of spring. The chicks mature in another three months, enough to fly and hunt. Unlike many other birds, the fledglings grow slowly to reach their adult size. Once they leave the nest, they are the size of a tiger. Through the next three years, they will slowly grow within their eagle pack to maturity, at which point they may choose to mate.

Ecology and Habitats

The golden habitat for an eagle is plains surrounded by high mountains. This way, they can see and feel their prey from up on the mountains, and then swoop in together for the chase and kill, with few trees in the way.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Generally eating larger prey, like antelope or buffalo, these items can satiate an eagle for a few days. However, they will occasionally go for predators, like lions, if they so feel or if the need presses them.

Biological Cycle

Once an eagle hits 60, they are an elder in their group. They lead their group, and help with the young chicks. Groups are formed around the females, like killer whales, with the males going out to mate and returning to their mother's group once the rearing is done and the females raising their young in their group. Because of this, it is beneficial for them to assist their family. At this point, they don't have young of their own, as the toll is often too much, but can nurture their genetic line by caring for their more distant relatives that are in their group.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Female matriarchs; males go out to mate, then return to their mother's (and their) group. Females mate with males from outside, but raise their young past fledgling into adulthood in their group. There is a pecking order, but priority is often given to fledglings, even if they hold no power.

Average Intelligence

Almost human. They have a different way of thinking and speech that makes it hard to directly compare, but their partners know that they are just about human.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

They have a small bit of magic of their own, allowing them to fly and sense their prey. Indeed, they are very good at sensing magical power, as they use it to track down prey. As such, they are well attuned to their masters, if they have any. The best of pairs of rider and bird won't need any physical cues to tell the bird where to go. As part of this, they can easily be spooked by overwhelming magical power. Naturally, their talons are sharp, and their eyes are excellent.
Cliche. Yes. But giant eagles are pretty rad!
Lifespan
100 years
Conservation Status
Egdom is proud of its bond with this great bird, and goes to great lengths to protect them, both in the wild and under their care. They rear many chicks and protect much of their natural habitat.
Average Height
10 feet tall, with a wingspan of 35 feet.
Average Weight
600 pounds, but that varies depending on how recently it ate.
Average Length
18 feet long with tail.

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