1213. Spizaetus nepalensis.
Nisaetus nipalensis, Hodgson, J. A. S. B. v, p. 229, pi. 7 (1836). Nisaetus nipalensis & pulcher, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. vi, p. 361 (1837). Spizaetus pulcher, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 305 ; xiv, p. 175. Spizaetus nipalensis, Blyth, Cat. p. 24; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 381; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 210; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 267 ; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 446; v, p. 125; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 145. Limnaetus nipalensis, Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 73; id. Ibis, 1871, p. 246 ; Gurney, Ibis, 1877, p. 431; Hume, Cat. no. 36 ; Davison, S. F. x, p. 336.
The Spotted Hawk-Eagle, Jerdon; Kanda-panthiong, Lepcha.
Coloration. Adult. Above dark brown, the scapulars and some other feathers with a coppery gloss ; crown and crest-feathers black, the latter 3 to 4 inches long and tipped white; sides of head also black, especially the broad cheek-stripes ; ear-coverts streaked with brown; feathers of hind-neck dark brown with very pale edges; median and larger wing-coverts lighter brown than small coverts; quills brown above, pale grey below, with distant dark bars; inner webs mottled with white near the base; traces of dark bars are found on the scapulars and of white on the larger and median coverts; rump and upper tail-coverts barred brown and white. Tail-feathers alternately barred black and brownish grey above, pale grey beneath, the black bands the broader and usually 5 in number, one being concealed by the coverts, extreme narrow tips whitish ; chin and throat white, with a broad black band down the middle, and bordered by black on each side; fore-neck light brown with large black drops ; rest of lower plumage brown, generally chocolate-brown not very dark, with white spots or imperfect bars interrupted at the shaft on each feather.
Young birds have the head and neck above and at the sides buff or whitish, with larger or smaller brown centres to the feathers, white tips on the mantle and quills ; tail with 6 or 7 dark bars; lower parts white or rufous-buff, sometimes with a few blackish-brown spots, chiefly on the breast. The crest is often small or wanting. In a further stage the buff and whitish edges to the upper plumage diminish, and there are large black-brown drops on the lower parts; the thigh-coverts and vent sometimes pale rufous, sometimes brown, and more or less barred with white. Occasionally the tail is without bars. There is a gradual passage to the adult plumage.
The feathering of the tarsus extends to part of the basal phalanx of the middle toe. Bill black; cere hoary black; irides yellow ; feet dirty yellowish white (Hume).
Length of a male 27.5; tail 12.5; wing 17; tarsus 4.2: of a female—length 29 ; tail 13.5; wing 18.5 ; bill from gape 1.9.
Distribution.' The Himalayas, from Kashmir to Bhutan. This bird visits the plains of Northern India in the cold season, and has been found as far south as Seoni and Pachmarhi, but reports of its occurrence in Southern India and Ceylon probably all refer to the next species. Blyth described a specimen (as S. pulcher) received from the Khasi hills ; but this species has not since been observed in the hills south of Assam, nor in Burma. It occurs, however, in China and Japan.
Habits, &c A forest Eagle, feeding on pheasants and other game-birds, and on hares and other small mammals. It breeds in India only, so far as is known, in the Himalayas, from January to early in May. The nest, a coarse structure of sticks, is placed in a large tree in dense forest or growing from a cliff; and the eggs, two in number, are greenish white, sparingly spotted and streaked with reddish brown and pale purple, and measuring about 2.7 by 2.2.