Thursday, 21 July 2016

Greater Spotted Eagle

Adult type. Broad wings, short tail and thickset head/neck. Long spiky p4 (7).

Same bird as above.White crescent at base of outer two primaries plus a smaller inner one.


2nd cy. Five new inner primaries and rest brown juvenile feathers.

Immature showing typical features of broad wings, short tail and thickset head. Also white outer carpal crescent.

Nice white flash at the primary bases. Many show a small white mark inside the carpal.

Not sure where this bird belongs. It was short tailed and had a reasonably long P4 but wings not particularly broad. Inconsistent carpal pattern and a pale eye also. I suppose it could just be a LSE?


2nd cy


A nice near adult. It had a few white spots to it's undertail and there is a line of white spots along the greater underwing coverts.

Immature. Perhaps 3rd cy?


An approaching immature.

The primaries point to it being a 3rd cy I think. The inner three are new, the next four appear worn and the outer three look newer. There also appears to be many new secondaries most of which lack white tips. The uneven trailing edge, worn tail and pale undertail shouldn't really make it any older.

Not a small eagle when seen in this profile. A distant circling individual like this can make you consider Steppe Eagle. The wings look very long and the tail full. When fully overhead this birds wings and body looked more compact than Steppe.

Two beautiful juveniles circled together for ages. We kept on expecting to hear gun shots but both birds at least left station 2 safely.

A much clearer cut white tipped tail compared to the accompanying juvenile and upperwing spots crisper. No hint of a nape patch and barring in remiges finished well short of tips.

Silvery flight feathers with fine barring restricted to the basal half.



Approaching juvenile.

Juvenile. Same bird as the four photos below.

A paler streaky bodied individual compared to some. The fine barring typically stops just over half way down the secondaries and inner primaries. Dark underwing coverts but carpal pattern of no use on this bird. Appears to have a couple of tail feathers missing. P4 noticeably long on this bird, more so than many.

Adult type



2nd cy. New inner primaries and old juvenile outers. Several new secondaries and tail feathers.

This adult type has a full crop which often creates a white 'head-light' at the neck side presumably from feathers being dislodged.

Adult type. Body and undertail smooth brown. Underwing coverts two toned possibly from moult? A nice long spiky p4 and dark eye.

You can really appreciate the wing structure of a GSE from this photo. The white outer comma is quite narrow but clear and there is also a faint inner one.

With wings outstretched and tail appearing large the GSE can look quite Steppe Eagle like from distance. Steppe has proportionately longer wings and generally a more protruding neck/head. Flight mode is also valuable. 

Adult type? Body and undertail smooth brown, fairly dark underwing coverts and a spiky p4. Almost non existent commas on this bird.

2nd cy fulvescens. New inner primaries and old juvenile outers.

Adult type. A real bruiser of an individual with a neck like Mike Tyson.

Presumably a female based on size and bulk. A very poor carpal crescent again and more like an adult Steppe Eagles.

Immature. Primaries all appear close to the same age with the inner three the newest so perhaps a 3rd cy? Very white undertail. The trailing edge too uneven for juvenile.

Barring in the secondaries stops well short of the tips but comes down further than on some individuals. A large white flash at the primary bases.

Another similar immature to the above bird. Perhaps a 3rd cy again. Primaries show only slight differences in wear and not the strong contrast between new inners and juvenile outers. Undertail still white and white edged greater underwing coverts are immature features. Long spiky p4 and large white carpal crescent.

Juvenile with gingery-ochre body.


Adult. Very heavy thickset individual, presumably a female. A large white carpal crescent was present. In direct comparison an adult Steppe would show longer wings but on their own it ain't straight forward sometimes.

Adult type. Very poor carpal crescents on this bird. Typical grey Batumi sky, always the case when a nice individual passes low overhead.

Black Vulture like in this profile.

Immature with Steppe Buzzard.

Immature. A nice white primary flash and a relatively long p4 but shape not convincing for GSE with wings appearing quite narrow? Brownish underwing coverts also. Just a LSE?

Adult type. Yet another big heavy individual with broad wings.

Perfect GSE.

Immature. Fairly dark brown upperwing with only slight contrast between those and the remiges. And nice sharp white primary-shafts.

Extremely long p4 or 7 on this bird.