A photo of a Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga)
Greater Spotted Eagle

Greater Spotted Eagle

Clanga 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. Its feathered legs indicate it as a member of the subfamily Aquilinae, also known as the “booted eagles”. This species, though once thought to be including in the genus Aquila, is now thought to belong to a distinct genus, Clanga, along with the other two species of spotted eagles. Greater spotted eagles are distributed spottily whilst breeding across Eastern and partially Central Europe across through much of central Russia and Central Asia, partially into China, the Indian Subcontinent and the upper Middle East. During winter, they migrate primarily to South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean Basin and partially into East Africa. This eagle prefers wetter habitats than most co-existing booted eagles, preferring riparian zones along rivers as well as bogs, lakes, ponds, some seacoasts and other water ways with some woodland or forest surrounding. Floodplains are the primary breeding sites, preferably those which experience high water levels. They tend to be slightly more generalized during winter and migration but often seek out similar wetland type habitat. However, on occasion they may occur in dry upland areas during winter such as savanna plateaus. Greater spotted eagles primarily live off of small mammals, principally rodents and quite often prefer those habituated to wetland habitat, frogs and a variety of birds, often vulnerable water birds, with reptiles and insects taken more infrequently. In all seasons but more so winter (much like other migratory eagles with a similar range), this species tends to be an opportunistic forager and will readily become a scavenger on a variety of easy food sources, including carrion, though the species rarely completely ceases hunting. Greater spotted eagles are primarily aerial foragers, gliding from a concealed perch low over marshes and the like or wet fields to come upon their victims. This species builds a stick nest in a large woodland tree, laying a clutch of 1 to 3 eggs. Females primarily incubate and brood the young while the male delivers prey, as is expected, though rarely more than one fledgling is produced. As in other birds of prey, often the oldest sibling is much larger than its younger sibling(s) and often attacks and kills the younger eaglet. This species often overlaps broadly with the closely related lesser spotted eagle (Clanga pomarina) and the two species are now known to hybridize frequently, often being to the determent of the populations of the rarer greater spotted eagles. The greater spotted eagle is quite rare, with populations being harmed primarily by habitat destruction by humans, followed by persecution and collisions with manmade objects, with the hybridization with lesser spotted eagles farther harming this eagle’s populations. As a result of its declines, the greater spotted eagle is classified as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN.
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Greater Spotted Eagles on Birda



A photo of a Spotted Eagle photographed in  Russia
Profile picture for Xana Volya
Xana Volya
Sunday 27 Aug 2023 - 7:08am
A map showing the sighting location
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Paul Kinnock
Saturday 05 Aug 2023 - 12:26pm
United Arab Emirates
A map showing the sighting location
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Greg Green
Thursday 15 Jun 2023 - 6:25am
A map showing the sighting location
Hemant Kirola
Friday 07 Apr 2023 - 2:57pm
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