(1751) Aquila pomarina hastata.
THE SMALL INDIAN SPOTTED EAGLE.
Morphnus hastatus Less., Voy. Ind. Belang., p. 217 (1834) (Bengal). Aquila hastata. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 341,
Vernacular names. Jiyadhar, Gutimar, Phari-tisa (Hind.).
Description. Very dark chocolate-brown, the feathers of the head and nape faintly paler-tipped but dark-shafted, as are the feathers of the back; tail blackish-brown, nearly always showing some traces of paler, greyer barring; primaries and outermost secondaries black or nearly so; lower parts equally dark brown, the feathers of the chin, throat and upper breast often dark-shafted ; vent and under tail-coverts paler and generally showing some traces of mottling.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill slaty-blue with the tip black and the cere and gape yellow ; legs dull yellow.
Measurements. wing 470 to 505 mm.; tail 230 to 248 mm.; tarsus 100 to 104 mm.; culmen 40 to 43 mm. wing 493 to 508 mm.; culmen 48 to 52 mm.
Young birds are a much paler brown ; the feathers of the head, nape and neck are boldly tipped with fulvous ; feathers of back and scapulars white-edged round the tips ; the wing-coverts all boldly tipped with white except the primary coverts; inner secondaries barred pale brown, whitish or grey and tipped pale ; tail dark brown barred with grey-brown, less definite on the central feathers and all tipped with white ; breast dark brown broadly edged with pale rufous, remainder of lower parts rufous-buff with brown shaft-stripes; upper tail-coverts mottled brown and white.
Other young birds have the lower parts pale brown, the feathers of the breast, abdomen and flanks streaked with whitish. These are probably intermediate between the last and more adult birds.
Distribution. Practically the whole of India, except Sind, and in Northern Burma as far South as Northern Pegu. It does not occur in Ceylon and is uncommon in Travancore and Madras, being most plentiful in Behar and Bengal. In Assam it is rare but occurs both North and South of the Brahmapootra as well as in the Surrma Valley and Manipur.
Nidification. The Lesser Indian Spotted Eagle breeds wherever it occurs but most commonly from the United Provinces to Behar and Eastern Bengal. It makes a comparatively large nest of sticks, twigs and branches often with the leaves still on. The lining may be either of green leaves or of grass, rags, etc. The tree selected for the nest is nearly always a large one, sometimes standing by itself in cultivated land or open plain, at other times cue of a clump or grove. Occasionally it will build in the immediate vicinity of a village or indigo-factory or even in a garden. Two eggs are most often laid, frequently only one whilst Inglis on one occasion took three. They are small replicas of those of Aquila clanga but on the whole better marked. Twenty eggs average 63.8 x 49.8 mm.: maxima 66.6 x 52.6 and 64.7x 54.4 mm.; minima 58.5 x 47.6 and 61.1 x 47.3 mm.
Habits. Much the same as those of A. clanga but it is not quite so lethargic a bird, whilst it is even more of a thief and plunderer of other birds and their nests. Frith in Mymensingh and Inglis in Behar both observed it rifling the nests of Mynas and it systematically bullies Kites and takes away the garbage they pick up. Its call is a very high pitched cackling laugh.