(1750) Aquila clanga Fall.
THE GREATER SPOTTED EAGLE.
Aquila clanga, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed, vol. v, p. 74.
This fine Eagle is found from South and South-West Europe to South Central Siberia and Northern China. South it breeds as far as India. In this latter country it occurs in some numbers, breeding in the North in the better wooded, well-watered areas, while its nest and eggs have been taken as far South as Khandesh by Davidson and Bell. It is common in Sind, though Ticehurst doubts whether it breeds there. Doig never found the nest, but believed it bred in the E. Narra district in November and December.
To the East it occurs and certainly breeds in Bihar and Western Bengal, but though Kloss says that it is found in Winter in Siam and records it from Bangkok and Koh-Lak, there is no evidence that it ever breeds there.
It is a bird which nests only in the immediate vicinity of lakes, swamps, rivers and canals which, as Hume observes, “furnish an abundant supply of frogs, the favourite food of the young.” Very rarely only is it to be found nesting in the dry zones. Once Hume obtained a nest “near Jodhpoor,” and it has also been found breeding in the driest portion of Bihar. In the hills it breeds here and there all along the lower ranges but is nowhere common. Thompson obtained a nest containing two eggs near Siliguri in the Sikkim Terai. Rattray says that it breeds occasionally in the lower hills of the Punjab, but the only nest he took was about 10 miles from Jhelum.
The nest is the usual Eagle’s nest of large and small sticks. Marshall (G. F. L.), who found four nests near Saharanpore, describes one as “a large circular platform of sticks, with a few dead. leaves in the egg-receptacle but with no other lining. The diameter of the whole nest was about 20 inches and the interior depth about 2 inches." Sometimes the nest is much higger, and that found by Thompson measured 2 feet across by about 6 inches in depth.
They are generally placed very high, up, sometimes quite at the top of high trees, usually 30 to 50 feet from the ground, while it never seems to build low down in Acacia and Babool-trees as the Tawny Eagle so often does. The tree selected is generally one of a number standing together in clumps or even in forest but, at other times, great trees with heavy foliage may be selected, standing solitary in cultivated or pasture land.
Hume gives the breeding season as April to June, but Davidson took an egg in Khandesh on 20th February and Rattray another on the 8th March.
In India one egg seems to be the normal clutch, though in Europe two or three are laid. Marshall seems to be the only one in India to have taken two eggs or young from a nest.
The eggs are normally broad ovals in shape, the texture coarse and the surface varying from rather rough to very rough and pimply. The ground is white and Indian eggs seem to be always very poorly marked, sometimes almost unmarked, sometimes faintly freckled with reddish or with small blotches of grey or reddish-grey. European eggs are often quite well marked and some¬times even handsome.
Seventy-two eggs, including fifty-four measured by Jourdain, average 68.3 x 54.1 mm. : maxima 74.6 x 55.6 and 74.4 x 58.0 mm. ; minima 64.5 x 52.2 and 67.2 x 51.2 mm.
1750. Aquila clanga
(1750) Aquila clanga Fall.