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

Greater Spotted Eagle

Clanga clanga

The Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga), a majestic bird of prey, is a member of the booted eagle subfamily Aquilinae. This large raptor is characterized by its dark brown plumage, contrasting yellow beak, and broad wings that reach the tail tip. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with females being significantly larger than males. Notably, the Greater Spotted Eagle has a fulvescens morph, displaying a pale body with blackish wings and tail.

Identification Tips

Adults are generally dark brown, with a pale beak and a narrow white U above the tail. Juveniles are heavily spotted with white markings on their wings. In flight, the species appears heavy-bodied with long wings and a short, broad tail. The underwing shows a single white crescent, and the upperwing may have a pale primary patch.


Greater Spotted Eagles favor wetter habitats, such as riparian zones, bogs, lakes, and ponds surrounded by woodland. They breed primarily on floodplains and during winter, they often seek out similar wetland habitats but can also be found in dry upland areas like savanna plateaus.


The breeding range spans Eastern Europe, parts of Central Europe, central Russia, central Asia, and parts of China. During winter, they migrate to South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the upper Mediterranean Basin, and parts of East Africa.


This species is an opportunistic forager, hunting primarily from the air and scavenging a variety of food sources. They build stick nests in large trees and are known to raise typically one fledgling per year. The Greater Spotted Eagle's range overlaps with the closely-related Lesser Spotted Eagle, and hybridization between the two species is common.

Song & Calls

The Greater Spotted Eagle is vocal, especially during the breeding season, with a high-pitched, urgent whistle and a three-syllable bark used to warn off intruders.


The species builds large stick nests in trees, laying one to three eggs. Incubation is carried out by the female, and the parents rarely raise more than one fledgling per year due to siblicide among chicks.

Similar Species

The Greater Spotted Eagle can be confused with the Lesser Spotted Eagle and the Indian Spotted Eagle, but can be distinguished by its larger size, darker plumage, and habitat preference.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists mainly of small mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and occasionally fish and insects. They hunt on the wing, quartering over open ground or soaring high above before diving onto prey.

Conservation status

The Greater Spotted Eagle is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Its populations are threatened by habitat destruction, collisions with objects, and hybridization with the Lesser Spotted Eagle. Conservation efforts include legal protection in some countries and habitat management to prevent further decline.

Greater Spotted Eagle Sounds

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