Birds – The Spotted Eagle

(A. heliaca), which is distributed from southeastern Europe to central Asia, northern India, and China, is sometimes mistaken for the species just described, but it is a smaller bird, with less difference in size between the sexes, and further the adults may be separated at once by the presence of a more or less conspicuous white patch on the shoulders. It is a rare and occasional visitor to the British Islands, but breeds rather abundantly in the forests of central and southeastern Europe. In India, Blanford describes it as a sluggish, heavy bird, often seen sitting on trees or sometimes on the ground in open country. During the winter season it throngs the well-wooded and cultivated portions of the plains of continental India, but goes farther north and west to breed. It feeds largely on carrion, although it also kills small mammals, birds, and lizards. Like the other Eagles it constructs a bulky nest of large sticks, placing it usually in a tree, and lining it with a few green leaves. The eggs, two or three in number, are variable in size and shape, and are pale grayish white and unspotted, or occasionally with purplish brown blotches.

Other Species. — In southeastern Europe and northern Africa this species is replaced by Adalbert’s Eagle (A. Adalberti), which is a slightly smaller species in which the white shoulder patches continue along the edge of the wing to the carpus; its habits are similar. The Steppe Eagle (A. Bifasciata), which was formerly regarded as a color phase of the Imperial Eagle, is a bird about thirty inches long, nearly uniform brown in color, with often a rufous-buff patch on the nape. Its habits are similar to those of the Imperial Eagle, except that it usually places the nest on the ground. Allied to the last, but much smaller, is the Indian Tawny Eagle (A. Vindhiana), a common bird of the Indian peninsula. It feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, and carrion, and is also guilty of robbing Kites and Falcons of their captures. Other species found in India are the rare Brook’s Eagle (A. Fulvescens), and the Large and Small Spotted Indian Eagles (A. maculata and A. Hastata), while Africa is the home of several fine species, as Verreaux’s Eagle (A. Verreauxi) of northeast and South Africa, the Tawny Eagle (A. Rapax), and Wahlberg’s Eagle (A. Wahlbergi).