1201. Aquila heliaca.
The Imperial Eagle.
Aquila heliaca, Sav. Descr. Egypte, p. 259, pl. 12 (1810); Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 238; Blanford, Ibis, 1894, p. 283. Falco imperialis, Bechst. Orn. Taschenb. v. & f. Deutschl. iii, p. 553 (1812). Aquila imperialis, J. E. Gray, in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. ii, pl. 28; Blyth, Cat. p. 26 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 48; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 57, partim; id. Ibis, 1871, p. 244; Brooks, Ibis, 1868, p. 349; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 142; Anderson, P. Z. S. 1871, p. 682; Hume, S. F. i, p. 157 ; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 152. Aquila crassipes, Hodgs, in Cray's Zool. Misc. p. 81 (1844), descr. nulla; Brooks, P. A. S. B. 1872, p. 64; id. P. Z. S. 1872, p. 503; Anderson, ibid. p. 620. Aquila mogilnik *, apud Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 5; Gurney, Ibis, 1873, p. 99 ; Dresser, Birds Eur. pl. 344; Hume, N. & E. p. 27; Brooks, S. F. i, p. 290; Anderson, P. Z. S. 1875, p. 20; Gurney Ibis, 1877, p. 215; Davison & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 73; Ball, ibid. p. 197; Cripps, ibid. p. 244 ; Hume, ibid. p. 335 ; id. Cat. no. 27; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 372; Reid, S. F. x, p. 6; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 20; Littledale, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 194; nec Falco mogilnik, Gmel. Aquila bifasciata, Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 131; nec Gray.
Jumiz, Jumbiz, Barra Jumiz, Satangal, H.; Frus, Beng.
Coloration. Adult. Lanceolate feathers of head and neck above and at the sides tawny buff; forehead and sinciput blackish, or streaked with blackish, neck-feathers sometimes black-shafted; rest of plumage above and below glossy blackish brown ; the smaller wing-coverts and upper and lower tail-coverts with buff margins; vent and lower tail-coverts whity brown; tail-feathers tipped buff, the last 2 1/2 to 3 inches almost black, and the basal portion indistinctly marked with numerous irregular mottled brownish-grey transverse bands; in most adults also some scapulars are pure white, but the white feathers vary in number and position.
Many birds are particoloured, some of the feathers above and below having pale borders, or being wholly pale brown. These are probably immature birds.
The young have the feathers of the head, neck, back, wing-coverts, breast, and part of the abdomen dark brown with whitish shaft-stripes, very broad on the lower surface; upper and under tail-coverts, lower abdomen and thigh-coverts, chin, throat, and cheeks buff; secondary quills and major coverts and tail broadly tipped with fulvous white, remainder of tail uniform dull brown. This is the lineated stage. There is much variation in this plumage also.
Bill bluish horny; cere yellow with a greenish tinge; irides in adults brownish yellow, in the young dusky brown ; feet yellow.
Length of male about 29; tail 11.5; wing 22; tarsus 3.6; bill from gape to point 2.4; of females—length about 31; tail 13; wing 24.
Distribution. From Central and South-eastern Europe to China, ranging north to Southern Siberia. The Imperial Eagle is chiefly a winter visitor to India, but breeds in the extreme North-west and perhaps occasionally in the North-west Provinces, or even, according to Jerdon, in the Deccan. Except locally it is a rare bird, being most common on the Indo-Gangetic plain. It has not been recorded in Ceylon or Burma, nor farther east in India than Furreedpore in Bengal.
Habits, &c. A sluggish heavy bird, often seen sitting on trees, sometimes on the ground in open country. It feeds much on carrion, though it also kills small mammals, birds, and lizards for food. It lays, as a rule, two eggs in the usual large nest of sticks lined with a few green leaves, and generally placed on a tree.
The eggs vary from unspotted greyish white to white greatly blotched with rufous, but are generally either white or but faintly coloured; they measure about 3 by 2.2, Indian examples about 2.7 by 2.09.
* I cannot identify the Imperial Eagle at any stage with S. G. Gmelin's figure and description of Falco mogilnik (see ' Ibis,' 1894, p. 283).