World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article
 

Greater spotted eagle

Greater spotted eagle
At Tal Chhapar Sanctuary, Rajasthan
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Infraclass: Neognathae
Superorder: Neoaves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Buteoninae (disputed)
Genus: Clanga
Species: C. clanga
Binomial name
Clanga clanga
(Pallas, 1811)
Range of C. clanga      Breeding range     Wintering range
Synonyms

Aquila clanga

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.

Contents

  • Description 1
    • Identification 1.1
  • Systematics, taxonomy and evolution 2
  • Distribution and habitat 3
    • Movements 3.1
  • Behaviour 4
    • Feeding 4.1
    • Breeding 4.2
  • Status and conservation 5
  • Gallery 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Description

Museum specimen of juvenile

The eagle is 59–71 cm (23–28 in) in length and has a wingspan of 157–179 cm (5.15–5.87 ft). Typical body mass is 1.6–2.5 kg (3.5–5.5 lb), with an occasional big female weighing up to 3.2 kg (7.1 lb).[2][3]

There is often a less obvious white patch on the upperwings, but a light crescent on the primary remiges is a good field mark. The white V mark on the rump is less clear-cut in adults than in the lesser spotted eagle (C. pomarina). The juvenile has white spots all over its wings and lacks a lighter nape patch.

The call is a dog-like yip.

Identification

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.[4]

In winter, it occurs in the range of the Indian spotted eagle (C. hastata). From this recently validated relative, it can be distinguished by the darker color and lighter eye (not darker than the body plumage at distance, lighter at close range), and in juveniles, the strong spotting. It is also a bit larger – though this cannot be reliably estimated in the field – and in the winter quarters prefers wetland habitat.

Systematics, taxonomy and evolution

The typical eagles are often united with the buteos (Buteo), sea eagles (Haliaetus) and other more heavy-set Accipitridae, but they may be less distinct than formerly believed from the more slender accipitrine hawks. The lesser spotted eagle is the greater spotted eagle's closest living relative; their common ancestor seems to have diverged around the middle Pliocene, perhaps some 3.6 million years ago (mya),[note 1] from the ancestors of the Indian spotted eagle that lives across Iran, Pakistan and India. The "proto-spotted eagle" probably lived in the general region of Afghanistan, being split into a northern and a southern lineage when both glaciers and deserts advanced in Central Asia as the last ice age began. The northern lineage subsequently separated into the eastern (greater) and western (lesser) species of today, probably around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary not quite 2 mya.[5][6][7]

The spotted eagles are quite distinct as a group from the typical members of Aquila, the "true eagles". They will probably be included with their putative tropical relatives in Lophaetus or Ictinaetus, or moved to a genus of their own in the future.

Distribution and habitat

This is a species of wooded country. The population is entirely migratory. It breeds from northern Europe eastwards across Asia, and winters in south-eastern Europe, north-eastern Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia. 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.[8]

Movements

This species is prone to vagrancy. Its regular breeding range no longer extends as far westwards as Germany but birds are still occasionally seen there with a few records per decade. Even young birds disperse widely; the Staatliches Museum für Tierkunde Dresden has a specimen (C 21845) shot in November 1914 near Bernsdorf in Saxony. It is a juvenile, and though its exact age cannot be determined it is heavily spotted and probably less than 20 months old.[9]

An adult greater spotted was tagged with a satellite transponder in 1993 in order to track migration. The tagged eagle migrated a total of 5,526 km (3,434 mi) from its wintering grounds in Yemen to it breeding grounds in western Siberia. It moved 150 km (93 mi) on average each day, but this increased to 280 km (170 mi) per day as the bird flew through Mesopotamia.[10]

Behaviour

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.[8]

Feeding

The eagle hunts small mammals and similar, mainly terrestrial, prey.

Breeding

Egg, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

This eagle lays 1–3 eggs in a tree nest. Generally territorial, juveniles spend some time with their parents after fledging, until they reach sexual maturity and seek out a territory and a mate of their own.

Status and conservation

It is classified as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN.[1] As of 2000, the world population of this eagle was estimated at less than 4,000 breeding pairs. The primary threats are habit degradation and habitat loss, as well as human disturbance during the mating season.[11]

Gallery

Notes

  1. ^ The estimate in Väli 2006 is certainly incorrect; it uses a molecular clock that is appropriate for small passerines with half the generation times of eagles.

References

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^

Further reading

External links

  • Greater spotted eagle Photographs, text and map at Oiseaux.net
  • Clanga clangaBirdLife species factsheet for
  • Clanga clanga on Avibase
  • Greater spotted eagle videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
  • Greater spotted eagle photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
  • Audio recordings of Greater spotted eagle on Xeno-canto.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.