Greater spotted eagle, Bangalore

Greater spotted eagle, Bangalore

Greater spotted eagle, Bangalore

 

The greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), occasionally just called the spotted eagle, is a large bird of prey. Like all typical eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. The scientific name clanga is from Ancient Greek meaning “scream”. This medium-sized eagle is very similar in general appearance to its closest relative the lesser spotted eagle, which shares part of its range. Head and wing coverts are very dark brown and contrast with the generally medium brown plumage; the lesser spotted eagle has a paler head and wing coverts. The head is small for an eagle. The similarities of the greater spotted to the lesser spotted often results in misidentification as being that species. This is further complicated by occasional hybrids between the two species.

This is a species of wooded country. The population is entirely migratory. It breeds from northern Europe eastwards across Eurasia, and winters in south-eastern Europe, north-eastern Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. Migration to the breeding grounds takes place fairly late; in Bhutan, for example, birds can be seen with some regularity until the end of March. In its winter range, the species is more social than when breeding. Small flocks of up to ten birds or so, of varying age, can be seen to patrol the land together. They also associate with other Accipitridae such as local and/or migrant black kites (Milvus migrans lineatus and govinda) or steppe eagles (A. nipalensis), distinctly smaller and larger raptors, respectively.

The greater spotted eagle hunts small mammals and similar, mainly terrestrial, prey. It is very variable, depending on availability of prey species. Mainly small mammals. Greater spotted eagle is classified as VULNERABLE by IUCN. Total world population certainly only some few thousand birds, considered to number 3300–8800 mature individuals by BirdLife International.

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