Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

Steppe Eagle_ hessarghatta

General

A medium-large sized  aquila  eagle winteing  in various parts of India in large numbers. Personally I have witnessed  Steppe Eagles in numbers from 2-3 to about 200 in one area at a time.In general most individuals appear bulky when perched and in flight look unmistakably  larger than a Tawny or Indian Spotted Eagle. At times Greater Spotted Eagle and Steppe appear to be matching in size.

Behavior

A migratory bird seen between (Nov to Mar) generally seen closer to carcass dumps and in the vicinity.

Often,seen in good numbers perched on trees, telephone poles or on the ground. In Bikaner  (RJ) I observed it to be enjoying gliding in the company of kites, vultures and other aquila eagles. Was seen in larger numbers at the carcass dump in particular, trying to compete with the Griffons for carrion and uttering  a sound / call reminiscent to a hen.

Not too shy a bird and does allow close approach.

Locations Seen

In Bangalore I have seen an individual in Hessarghatta ( BLR) and another one perhaps a vagrant at Koramangala(KA)

Also came across 6-8 birds in Hubli (KA)in an open field.

Jorbeed – Bikaner was a different experience all together. Steppe Eagles were present in almost every other tree.The numbers were so huge that one would believe only Black Kites could be seen in such huge numbers.

Also saw a good number flying over Veerangham ( GJ) Nov ’14

Distribution

Well distributed across western part of India. Notable sightings are at KA,MH,GJ right upto RJ during winter

Frequency of Sightings 

Only in winter and location specific.