The Golden eagle occurs in suitable habitats throughout the entire Holarctic region, with partial southern winter migrations. It is the most widespread and numerous large eagle in the Northern Hemisphere. However, it is nowhere common, and persecution pressures in many parts of its range are certainly putting its future in jeopardy.
It is a bird of open mountainous country, the wilder and more extensive the better, and over such terrain it spends many hours on the wing each day, performing all manner of graceful glides, side-slips, soaring ascents and dives, all performed apparently effortlessly and with virtually no wing-movements. It is also capable of spectacular steep dives, at speeds in excess of 100 mph (160 kph). With such flying skills it easily captures a wide variety of mammals and gamebirds, invariably taking them on the ground in a swooping attack.