Lesser spotted eagle

The lesser spotted eagle (Clanga pomarina) is a large Eastern European bird of prey. Like all typical eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. The typical eagles are often united with the buteos, sea eagles, and other more heavy-set Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks than believed.

Lesser spotted eagle
עיט חורש
Note light patches on wings
and white V on rump
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Clanga
C. pomarina
Binomial name
Clanga pomarina
Brehm, 1831
ClangaPomarinaIUCNver2018 2
Range of C. pomarina

     Breeding      Non-breeding      Passage


Aquila pomarina


A drawing of a lesser spotted eagle

This is a medium-sized eagle, about 60 cm (24 in) in length and with a wingspan of 150 cm (59 in). Its head and wing coverts are pale brown and contrast with the generally dark plumage. The head and bill are small for an eagle. Usually, a white patch occurs on the upper wings, and even adults retain a clearly marked white "V" on the rump; the wing markings are absent and the white "V" is not well-defined in the greater spotted eagle.

The juvenile has less contrast in the wings, but the remiges bear prominent white spots. It differs from greater spotted eagle juveniles by a lack of wing covert spotting and the presence of a cream-colored neck patch.

The call is a dog-like yip.

Systematics, taxonomy and evolution

The birds formerly considered to be the resident Indian subspecies are now considered a separate species, the Indian spotted eagle (Clanga hastata), quite distinct and readily separable by morphological, behavioral, ecological, and DNA sequence data. The European taxon is actually closer to the greater spotted eagle; their common ancestor seems to have diverged around the middle Pliocene, perhaps some 3.6 million years ago,[2] from the ancestors of the Indian birds. The "proto-spotted eagle" probably lived in the general region of Afghanistan, being split into a northern and a southern lineage when both glaciers and deserts advanced in Central Asia as the last ice age began. The northern lineage subsequently separated into the eastern (greater) and western (lesser) species of today, probably around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary not quite 2 million years ago.[3][4][5]

The spotted eagles as a group are quite distinct from the typical members of Aquila, the "true eagles".

Aquila pomarina nest with eggs
A two-egg clutch in nest

The present species hybridizes occasionally with the greater spotted eagle. Hybrid birds are almost impossible to identify if not seen up close.[6]

Distribution and ecology

Aquila pomarina MWNH 0818
Egg, collection of Museum Wiesbaden

The lesser spotted eagle breeds in Central and Eastern Europe and southeastward to Turkey and Armenia;[7] and winters in Africa. This is a very wary species of open or lightly wooded country, in which it hunts small mammals and similar terrestrial prey. This eagle lays one to three white, buff-spotted eggs in a tree nest. As usual for eagles, only in breeding seasons with very abundant prey does more than one young fledge, but the female starts incubating when the first egg has been laid, thus the first young to hatch usually outgrows its clutch mate(s) and will kill and even eat them sooner or later.

The territories of Lesser Spotted Eagles are spaced regularly and consistently between years in the north-western part of their distribution. The distances between territories vary across the region, although this was not found to be related to breeding success. Synchronous variation in breeding success across the region indicates that the eagles are instead influenced by large-scale factors such as fluctuations in climate or prey availability.[8]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Clanga pomarina". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ The estimate in Väli 2006 is certainly incorrect; it uses a molecular clock that is appropriate for small passerines with half the generation times of eagles.
  3. ^ Parry, S.J.; Clark, W.S.; Prakash, V. (2002). "On the taxonomic status of the Indian Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata". Ibis. 144 (4): 665–675. doi:10.1046/j.1474-919X.2002.00109.x.
  4. ^ Rasmussen, Pamela C.; Anderton, John C. (2005). Birds of South Asia - The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-84-87334-67-2.
  5. ^ Väli, Ülo (2006). "Mitochondrial DNA sequences support species status for the Indian Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 126 (3): 238–242.
  6. ^ Väli, Ülo; Lõhmus, Asko (2004). "Nestling characteristics and identification of the lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarina, greater spotted eagle A. clanga, and their hybrids". Journal of Ornithology. 145 (3): 256–263. doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0028-7.
  7. ^ "Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina in Armenia". Armenian Bird Census, TSE NGO].
  8. ^ Treinys, R.; Bergmanis, U.; Väli, Ü. (2017). "Strong territoriality and weak density-dependent reproduction in Lesser Spotted Eagles Clanga pomarina". Ibis. 159 (2): 343–351. doi:10.1111/ibi.12454.

Further reading

  • Svensson, Lars (1–8 November 1986). Underwing pattern of Steppe, Spotted and Lesser Spotted Eagles. International Bird Identification: Proceedings of the 4th International Identification Meeting. Eilat: International Birdwatching Centre Eilat. pp. 12–14.

External links

Ackerdijkse Plassen

Ackerdijkse Plassen is a nature reserve in Oude Leede, a village in the municipality of Pijnacker-Nootdorp, (south of Delft and west of Berkel en Rodenrijs). It is one of the most important bird areas in the Netherlands. In addition to 115 species of breeding birds, the ponds are visited annually by about eighty species of migratory birds, such as greenish warbler, Greater short-toed lark, short-eared owl, booted eagle, lesser spotted eagle, black crowned night heron and osprey. Konik provide grazing in the area.

The area contains a restored farmhouse from 1660.

The area is closed to visitors, however there are hiking trails and bike paths around the outside of the area.

The Nature Society took over the management of the area from the Birdlife Netherlands.

Ara (mountain)

Mount Ara (Armenian: Արա լեռ, Ara leř) is a polygenetic stratovolcanic cone in Armenia's Kotayk Province. The town of Zoravan and a nearby church, Gharghavank, are located along the mountain's lower slopes. The town of Yeghvard is below the mountain.

Located north of Yerevan, the mountain has a destroyed crater and a base diameter of 9km at an altitude of 1,900m. The volcano is constructed from lava and agglomerate layers with intrusions of andesite and dacite. The slopes on the north and east are forested. One flank cone south of Arailer has erupted andesite. Andesite also appears in the former crater and lava flows spread to the Hrazdan River. One K-Ar date indicates an age of 1.3 Ma, there are two subsidiary cones Nokhut and Shakhvard.The mountain has a high biodiversity with Sympecma paedisca, Colias aurorina, Parnassius mnemosyne rjabovi, Armenohelops armeniacus, Cylindronotus erivanus, Conizonia kalashiani, Parnassius apollo kashtshenkoi, Dorcadion kasikoporanum, Papilio alexanor orientalis, Proterebia afra hyrcana and Tetralonia macroglossa represented. Conizonia is endemic on Arailer. The ecosystem is well preserved apart from a minor threat from grazing. The Mountain also holds high variety of bird species, including Golden Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Caucasian Black Grouse, Red-billed Chough, White-throated Robin, and others. For the reason, the area was recognized as Important Bird Area.

Clanga (genus)

Clanga is a genus which contains the spotted eagles. The genus name is from Ancient Greek klangos, "eagle".

Clutch (eggs)

A clutch of eggs is the group of eggs produced by birds, amphibians, or reptiles, often at a single time, particularly those laid in a nest.

In birds, destruction of a clutch by predators (or removal by humans, for example the California condor breeding program) results in double-clutching. The technique is used to double the production of a species' eggs, in the California condor case, specifically to increase population size. The act of putting one's hand in a nest to remove eggs is known as "dipping the clutch".


Eagle is the common name for many large birds of prey of the family Accipitridae. Eagles belong to several groups of genera, not all of which are closely related. Most of the 60 species of eagle are from Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just 14 species can be found—2 in North America, 9 in Central and South America, and 3 in Australia.

Feldberg Lake District Nature Park

The Feldberg Lake District Nature Park (German: Naturpark Feldberger Seenlandschaft) lies in the southeast of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the district of Mecklenburgische Seenplatte. A large part of the nature park lies within the municipality of the same name, the Feldberger Seenlandschaft ("Feldberg Lake District"). In addition the municipalities of Wokuhl-Dabelow, Grünow, Carpin, Godendorf and parts of the towns of Woldegk and Neustrelitz fall within the nature park. The western end of the park is also a part of Müritz National Park.

The Feldberg Lake District Nature Park is characterised by its large lakes, the (Breiter Luzin, the Carwitzer See, the Schmaler Luzin, the Großer Fürstenseer See and Feldberger Haussee), the forests with their many plants and animals, including rare species, and also by its cultural landscape. Features of the park are its kettle bogs and the oldest beech woods in Germany in the nature reserve of Heilige Hallen.

The landscape was shaped by the ice age. In the north of the park there is a region of terminal moraines; in the south is wooded sandur terrain. The central area with the Feldberg lakes is part of the terminal moraine of the Pomeranian Stage of the Weichselian glaciation. Here the topographic height differences are greater than is normal for North Germany. The highest hill is the Vogelkirsche (near the village of Schlicht north of the Breiter Luzin) with a height of 166.2 metres above sea level (NHN). The Breiter Luzin is the second deepest lake in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with a depth of up to 58.3 metres.

The state border with Brandenburg runs through the lakes of Krüselinsee and Großer Mechowsee and the southern part of the Carwitzer See.

Many rare animals live here, such as the otter, which is the heraldic animal of the park, the black stork, the lesser spotted eagle, osprey and white-tailed eagle, the swollen river mussel and the whitefish. There are over 1,000 wild flower species in this nature park.

The park has an area of c. 340 km2, of which c. 38% is woodland, c. 11% is lakes and rivers, c. 45% is used for agriculture and c. 6% by infrastructure and housing.

Greater spotted eagle

The greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), occasionally just called the spotted eagle, is a large bird of prey. Like all typical eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. The scientific name clanga is from Ancient Greek κλαγγή, "scream".

Indian spotted eagle

The Indian spotted eagle (Clanga hastata) is a large South Asian bird of prey. Like all typical eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. The typical eagles are often united with the buteos, sea eagles and other more heavyset Accipitridae, but more recently it appears as if they are less distinct from the more slender accipitrine hawks.

Karsiborska Kępa

Karsiborska Kępa is an island near Świnoujście in north-western Poland. It is also the name of a nature reserve and bird sanctuary on the island.

The island is known for being possibly the most important breeding area for the aquatic warbler. OTOP, the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds bought 1.8 square kilometres of the island. The whole island covers some 3 km2 and is the only reserve owned by OTOP. The number of aquatic warblers on the island depends on the water level and the available vegetation. There were between 55 singing males in the late 1990s. The island consists of large meadows, pastures, and it has large reed beds. Numerous other breeding birds include: marsh and Montagu's harriers, Eurasian curlew, common redshank and bearded tit. Other species include white-tailed eagle, black kite and lesser spotted eagle. On passage there are numerous flocks of geese, waterfowl, cranes and waders. The other forms of wildlife include wild boar and occasionally otter. The site is frequented by birders and is placed ideally for those driving to Poland via Germany.

Karula National Park

Karula National Park is national park in southern Estonia. It was established in 1979 as a protected area and in 1993 became a national park. It is the smallest national park in Estonia.

Karula National Park is characterised by its hilly topography, its many lakes, the great biodiversity and traditional cultural landscape. The flora of the national park is rich, and includes several species red-listed in Estonia such as the Baltic orchid, mezereon and the daisyleaf grape fern; the latter is only found in three locations in Estonia and Karula is one of them. The fauna also incorporates unusual and threatened species, such as the pond bat, the lesser spotted eagle and the black stork. Mammals like elk, lynx and polecat are common.

Lindi Nature Reserve

Lindi Nature Reserve is a nature reserve situated in south-western Estonia, in Pärnu County.

Lindi Nature Reserve was established in 1958, and the protection of the site was expanded in 1999. The nature reserve is centred on Lindi bog, and consists mostly of herb-rich, wooded areas. It is an important habitat for many species, notably large birds of prey like the lesser spotted eagle and the white-tailed eagle.

Mizhrichynskyi Regional Landscape Park

Mizhrichynskyi Regional Landscape Park (Ukrainian: Міжрічинський регіональний ландшафтний парк) is the biggest regional landscape park in Ukraine. It was founded in 2002 near the village Otrokhy in the Kozelets Raion of the Chernihiv Oblast. It is located between two large rivers, the Dnipro and Desna, from which the park's Ukrainian name meaning "between the rivers" is derived. Mizhrichynskiy Landscape Park has an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers in the south-eastern Chernihiv region. The Desna river forms the eastern boundary of the park, while the western and southern boundaries coincide with the border of Chernihiv region. The forest is mostly pine trees. There are many swamps, bogs and lakes.

The large wild area provides a habitat to many animals. There are many larger mammals in Mizhrichynskiy RLP such as moose, wolf, deer, roe deer, wild boar and others. There are 241 bird species, including 145 breeding species. White-tailed eagle, short-toed eagle, lesser spotted eagle, black kite, black stork, crane, black woodpecker, white-backed woodpecker and a lot of other rare birds breed here. There are 65 rare plant species and 74 rare animal species in Mizhrichynskiy regional landscape park. There are two Important Bird Areas within Mizhrichynskyi Regional Landscape Park.

Mount Stogu

Mount Stogu (Romanian: Muntele Stogu) is a protected area (nature reserve IUCN category IV) situated in the administrative territory of Băile Olăneşti, in Vâlcea County within east Romania.

Parika Nature Reserve

Parika Nature Reserve (Estonian: Parika looduskaitseala) is a nature reserve in Viljandi County in southern Estonia.

The nature reserve is situated in and around Parika bog, and consists of a system of bogs and small lakes. It is an important habitat for several species of orchid, including coralroot orchid, common spotted orchid and common twayblade, but also other e.g. Nymphaea candida. The bird-life of the nature reserve is also rich; species commonly found here include the lesser spotted eagle, black stork and grey heron. Two trails for visitors have been prepared in the nature reserve.

Pontic Mountains

The Pontic Mountains or Pontic Alps (Turkish: Kuzey Anadolu Dağları, meaning North Anatolian Mountains) form a mountain range in northern Anatolia, Turkey. They are also known as the Parhar Mountains in the local Turkish and Pontic Greek languages. The term Parhar originates from a Hittite word meaning "high" or "summit". In ancient Greek, the mountains were called the Paryadres or Parihedri Mountains.

Riga Zoo

Riga Zoo is a city-owned zoo in Riga, Latvia. It is located in Mežaparks, on the western bank of Ķīšezers lake. Riga Zoo houses around 4000 animals of nearly 500 species and is visited by 250-300,000 visitors annually. The zoo has a branch "Cīruļi" in Liepāja District, Kalvene parish, established in 1996, it has an area of 135 hectares (330 acres).


Uzunbodzhak (Bulgarian: Узунбоджак), also transliterated as Ouzounboudjak is an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, one of the five nature reserves in Strandzha Nature Park in south-eastern Bulgaria. The reserve is sometimes called Lopushna (Bulgarian: Лопушна). Uzunbodzhak was established on 13 December 1956 and was included in the UNESCO network of biosphere reserves in March 1977. It covers an area of 2529.6 hectares, or 25.296 km2. All economic activities are prohibited on the territory of the reserve.

Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area

Vihorlat Protected Landscape Area (Slovak: Chránená krajinná oblasť Vihorlat) is one of the 14 protected landscape areas in Slovakia. The Landscape Area is situated in the middle part of the Vihorlatské vrchy mountains, in eastern Slovakia. It is situated in the Humenné, Sobrance and Snina districts.


Łysica [ˈwɨˈɕit͡sa] is the highest mountain in Świętokrzyskie Mountains of Poland. Its height is 612 metres (2,008 ft). It is located in the Świętokrzyski National Park and there is an abbey below it, on a site that might have been a pagan temple before the times of baptism of Poland.

Łysica, which is also called Gora Swietej Katarzyny (St. Catherine's Mountain) lies in western part of the Lysogory range, near the village of Swieta Katarzyna. It belongs to the so-called Crown of Polish Mountains (“Korona Gor Polskich”), as it is the highest mountain of Holy Cross Mountains. Łysica has two peaks, eastern, and western, with the latter being higher by 4 meters.

The mountain is made of quartzite and slate, its northern and southern slopes are marked by the stone run. Furthermore, on the southern slope, at the height of 590 meters, there is a small bog. Most of Łysica is covered by a forest, near the peak there are fir trees, below which are beeches. Łysica is inhabited by birds of prey, such as the lesser spotted eagle, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, and the Eurasian hobby.


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