Aquila rapax orientalis and nipalensis
This is the Eurasian migratory race of the Tawny Eagle of Africa. Very variable and confusing with vast difference even in size. Some almost as big as small Golden Eagles - others only two- thirds the size. Adults are often very uniform dark wet-earth brown above and below.
The fun comes with the immature plumages which often show white in the wings, tail and wing lining and may have pale golden body feather and wing coverts. Get a good book! During the breeding season they take medium-sized mammals such as hares and susliks (ground squirrels) and medium and large birds. Young birds go further south in Africa than the adults which are solitary. Youngsters tend to flock together and feed on insect swarms and colonial quelea.
At best an impressive dark eagle, at worst an identification headache.
Length 2,200 mm Closed wing 550 mm Weight 2,700 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead