733. STEPPE EAGLE.
Aquila nipalensis Hodgs. As. Res. xviii. part 2, p. 13, pl. i. (1832) ; Dresser, v. p. 507, pl. 340 ; A. bifasciata, J. E. Gray, Ill. Ind. Zool, i. pl. 17 (1830-34 nec. Brehm) ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 336 ; A. orientalis. Cab. J. f. O. 1854, p. 369 ; A. amurensis, Swinh. P.Z.S. 1871, p. 338 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 201 ; A. mogilnik Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 240 (1874 nec. Gmel.).
Steppen Adler, German ; Podorlik, Russ. ; Karagush, Bashkir.
Male ad. (S. Russia). Upper parts dull earth-brown, darker on the head scapulars and inner secondaries paler on the nape ; quills and larger scapu¬lars blackish brown ; tail blackish brown, narrowly tipped with light brown, and with obsoletely marbled ashy grey bars ; under parts dull earth-brown, tinged with rufous on the lower abdomen ; bill bluish horn ; cere, gape, and feet pale yellow ; iris brown. Culmen 2.4, wing 20.5, tail 10.7, tarsus 2.7 inch. Female similar but larger. The young bird is dark earth-brown, with a faint purplish tinge above and below, has two conspicuous rufous ochreous wing-bars, the upper tail-coverts bright ochreous fawn, and the tail is broadly tipped with dull rufescent ochreous. From the Spotted Eagles this species is readily distinguishable in having a vertical and not a round nostril.
Hab. Eastern and South-eastern Europe ; North-east Africa ; Asia east to South Eastern Siberia ; Mongolia and China ; in winter visiting Northern India, Assam, and Burma.
In habits this is a heavy bird, frequenting the Steppes and open country and feeding on small mammals, reptiles, and carrion, sometimes capturing small birds. Its nest, which is invariably placed on the ground, frequently on a low mound, is constructed of twigs and boughs lined with grass, plant-stems, or wool, and the eggs 2, rarely 3 in number, are usually deposited in May, and are white with violet grey shell-markings and deep red surface-spots and blotches, and are as a rule not richly marked though sometimes they are as well and boldly marked as those of A. pomarina. In size they average by 2.35.
733. Aquila nipalensis
733. STEPPE EAGLE.