Structure of Greater spotted eagle
Greater spotted eagle is about 59-71 cm in length and has a wingspan of 157-179 cm The typical body mass of Greater spotted eagle is 1.6-2.5 kg, with an occasional big female weighing up to 3.2 kg. There is often a less obvious white patch on the upper wings of Greater spotted eagle, but a light crescent on the primary remiges is a good field mark. The white V mark on the rump is less clear-cut in adults than in the lesser spotted eagle. The juvenile Greater spotted eagle has white spots all over its wings and lacks a lighter nape patch. The call is a dog-like yip. This medium-sized Greater spotted eagle is very similar in general appearance to its closest relative the lesser spotted eagle, which shares part of its range. Head and wing coverts are very dark brown and contrast with the generally medium brown plumage; the lesser spotted eagle has a paler head and wing coverts. The head is small for an eagle. The similarities of the greater spotted to the lesser spotted often results in misidentification as being that species. This is further complicated by occasional hybrids between the two species.
Genus of Greater spotted eagle
Greater spotted eagles are quite distinct as a group from the typical members of Aquila, the "true eagles". They will probably be included with their putative tropical relatives in Lophaetus or Ictinaetus, or moved to a genus of their own in the future.
Population of Greater spotted eagle
Greater spotted eagle is of wooded country. The population is entirely migratory. It breeds from northern Europe eastwards across Asia, and winters in south-eastern Europe, north-eastern Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia. The migration to the breeding grounds of Greater spotted eagle takes place fairly late in Bhutan and India, especially in the winter.
Behaviour of Greater spotted eagle
Greater spotted eagle is more social than when breeding. The small flocks of up to ten birds or so, of varying age, can be seen to patrol the land together. They also associate with other Accipitridae such as local and/or migrant black kites or steppe eagles, distinctly smaller and larger raptors, respectively.
Prey of Greater spotted eagle
Greater spotted eagle hunts small mammals and similar, mainly terrestrial, prey.