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The steppe eagle is a large, bulky and robust-looking eagle. It is mainly dark brown in colour with a longish but very thick neck and a relatively small head that nonetheless features a strong bill and long gape-line. It appears long-winged and has a longish and rather rounded tail and markedly well-feathered (almost with disheveled looking feathers) legs.
Although the breeding range is rather extensive, the steppe eagle is essentially confined to nesting in only four large nations: Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. However, the steppe eagle once bred in Europe. Here, they bred into the 20th century in at least southeasternmost Ukraine and perhaps elsewhere in eastern Europe. These eagles still rarely occur as breeders in southwest Russia from Stavropol to Astrakhan.