Indian Spotted Eagle (Aquila hastata)

Indian Spotted Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Aquila hastata | [authority] Lesson, 1831 | [UK] Indian Spotted Eagle | [FR] Aigle lanceole | [DE] Schreiadler-hastata | [ES] Aguila Moteada Hindu | [NL] Indische Spotarend


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Aquila hastata OR n India


Members of the genus Aquila have long, broad wings and a medium tail. There are currently fourteen species of large predominantly dark-coloured eagles in the genus Aquila. This genus has a worldwide distribution.

Physical charateristics

A stocky, medium-sized eagle with short, broad wings and a rather short tail. Adults are essentially brown and successfully identifying this species requires good views. The gape has ‘lips’ that are extensive and fleshy and extend to the middle of the eye. The nostril is round. The legs appear longer and thinner due to the tarsii being less thickly feathered. In adults the brown of the plumage is paler, and as a result there is an obvious contrast between the paler wing-coverts and flight feathers, both above and below. The head is large in relation to body size. In flight it shows rounder wings and is lighter, slimmer and less bulky than the Greater Spotted Eagle A. clanga. Greater-spotted has darker wing-coverts than flight feathers. In juvenile and subsequent subadult plumages, the pale spots on the upperwing coverts are smaller and contrast less from the ground colour of the upperwing coverts and flight feathers, than do those of Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga. It is however very similar to this species and not all individuals can be reliably identified.forest. The female?s yellowish gape and ?lips? gradually turn greyish-white during breeding, and she acquires, and retains, a thin white supercilium all through that time.

wingspan min.: 154 cm wingspan max.: 168 cm
size min.: 59 cm size max.: 67 cm
incubation min.: 25 days incubation max.: 32 days
fledging min.: 65 days fledging max.: 75 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  


Oriental Region : North India. Aquila hastata appears to be a widespread species that has always been recorded at very low density throughout the lowlands of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent, occurring in Pakistan, Nepal, India,Bangladesh and Myanmar


A powerful predator that seizes its, mostly mammalian, prey from the ground whilst quartering over areas within, or near, forest. Also preys on frogs and birds. It is a tree-nesting species, favouring open habitats such as low intensity agriculture, wetlands and open forest and forest clearings year-round


It was recorded displaying in late February in Cambodia: it starts by “wing-winnowing” then raises the wings steeply above the head in a dihedral. Then performs an undulating display flight, looping-the-loop two or three times and completing several heart dives. It is quite probable that monogamous bondage is strong and the same pair breeds every year. Both birds share nest-building activity. The nest is always constructed on the western side, but as close to the centre as possible, of a Coconut tree Cocus nucifera. The highest tree in the grove is chosen for nesting. A single egg is laid every year. Incubation occurs through peak of dry season and
finishes just before the monsoon. Normally, incubation begins in the third week of March and ends in the second week of May. Young fly generally by the end of July. Incubation is shared by both parents but predominantly the female is on the nest. She can make long shifts, she is than fed by the male. The nest is kept clean by replacing old nesting material. The eaglet is fed with the same food that the adults consume; garden lizards and Indian field mouse forming its main diet. The eaglet imitates adults? hunting habit of flying straight to an imaginary prey, lying on the ground, from a high perch. After abut 5 months the eaglet is capable of hunting on its own.

Feeding habits

Diet onsists of ground maamls, birds and reptiles. This Eagle perches and catches prey on the ground.

Video Indian Spotted Eagle


copyright: Vijay Raol


This poorly known species has a small and declining population. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.
Although poorly known this species is undoubtedly threatened by conversion and disturbance of forested habitats within its range. A number of other threats have had negative impacts on many raptor populations in Asia and further research into the threatening process that may be affecting this species is required.
Indian Spotted Eagle status Vulnerable



Distribution map

Indian Spotted Eagle distribution range map

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