(1752) Hieraetus fasciatus fasciatus.
Aquila fasciata Vieill., Mem. Soc. Linn., Paris, ii (2), p. 152 (1822) (Montpellier). Hieraetus fasciatus. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 342.
Vernacular names. Morangi (Hind.); Kundeli Salawa (Tel.); Rajali (Tam.).
Description. Upper parts umber-brown, the bases of the feathers white and often showing through conspicuously on the lower back, nape and hind-neck; the feathers of both the head and mantle inconspicuously dark-shafted; tail dark grey above, whiter below, with a broad subterminal black band and narrower less well-defined bands elsewhere; tip whitish; lesser and median wing-coverts brown, dark-centred; quills and greater coverts blackish; primaries and secondaries blackish barred and mottled over the greater part of the inner webs with white; lores white ; most specimens with traces of a white eye-brow; cheeks and ear-coverts white to buff, streaked with black ; lower plumage white to rufous-buff, streaked practically throughout with blackish or dark brown, the streaks varying from narrow striations of almost black to broad central streaks of rich rufous-brown; the thigh-coverts are often much darker than the rest of the lower parts and are well mottled with white or pale buff; under wing-coverts white along the edge of the wing, dark brown elsewhere; axillaries brown, edged white or mottled with the same.
Colours of soft parts. Iris golden yellow, browner in younger birds and bluish-brown in the very young; bill bluish-grey, black tipped, the cere and gape dull yellow; legs and feet dingy yellowish, sometimes " whitey-brown " (Hvme) claws black.
Measurements. wing 482 to 520 mm.; tail 275 to 288 mm.; tarsus about 99 to 102 mm.; culmen 43 to 45 mm. wing 530 to 550 mm.; culmen 45 to 48 mm.
Young birds are paler above with still paler edges to the feathers of the head and nape, the latter often more rufous than the surrounding parts; lower parts pale to rather rich rufous, streaked throughout with blackish or dark rufous-brown in varying degree; tail barred and mottled equally throughout, tipped with white, but with no broad subterminal dark band; inner secondaries and scapulars much banded and mottled with white.
Distribution. South Europe, Asia Minor, Turkestan, Palestine and Central Asia to N. W. China. In India it is found from the Himalayas to Ceylon, where it has occurred once and in Northern Burma. It also occurs in North Africa.
The South African species-has been separated as H. f. minor (Erlanger) on account of its smaller size.
Nidification. Bonelli's Eagle breeds from November to February, from Sind to Travancore, in considerable numbers but less commonly on the Eastern side of India, though Hopwood found it breeding at Segaing in Upper Burma. It makes a huge nest of sticks either on a ledge of a cliff, on the lofty clay-banks of rivers or on high trees, lining the centre carefully with green leaves. Occasionally it is said to use old nests of the Tawny Eagle or Vulture. The eggs number two, often one only and once Hume found three. Most eggs are white or white with very faint flecks of pale reddish ; a few are fairly well marked with light reddish-brown or yellowish but none could be called handsome eggs. Forty eggs average 69.1 X 53.4 mm.; maxima 71.2 x 55.4 and 69.9 X 56.9 mm.; minima 65.0 x 54.1 and 66.5 x 51.2 mm.
Habits. Bonelli's Eagle keeps to well-wooded and well-watered country and even in Sind keeps to the vicinity of rivers, canals or swamps. It is a very bold active bird, feeding much on waterfowl of all kinds and on partridges, pigeons, etc., but never on carrion as so many Eagles do. The flight is swift and powerful and its carriage generally very majestic and much more imposing than that of the Imperial Eagle. Hume describes its call as " a shrill, creaking cry."