Steppe eagle, Tawny eagle spotted on dry lands of Kalangal in Coimbatore district

A Steppe eagle spotted at Kalangal near Sulur recently.  

Kalangal near Sulur in Coimbatore district appears to be a favourite turf for birds that prefer open dry habitat.

Birders recently spotted two large birds of prey namely Steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) and Tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) on dry lands of Kalangal. Photographic records of the presence of the two eagles in Coimbatore district were not available so far, according to them.

C.V. Nishanth and G.V. Sathyanaarayan, members of the Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS) and The Nature and Butterfly Society, spotted a Steppe eagle on an open dry land at Kalangal on November 26. They also managed to photograph the raptor that was resting on the ground after a rain.

According to Mr. Nishanth, Steppe eagle breeds across Eurasia, from Turkey to China.

The migratory season has been observed from August to March and they return from April.

A Tawny eagle spotted at Kalangal near Sulur recently.

A Tawny eagle spotted at Kalangal near Sulur recently.  


“They feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. Immature birds have been noticed taking carcasses of these. They frequent open grasslands, scrubs and mountain forest. Its conservation status is ‘endangered’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species,” he said.

G. Prakash of CNS said that it could possibly be the first photographic record of the large stocky brown bird of prey in Coimbatore district.

Earlier sighting

There are records of its sighting in the Nilgiris and Erode districts.

M. Sakthi and Usha Raveendran from Coimbatore-based Western Ghats Wildlife Conservation Trust (WGWCT) spotted a Tawny eagle at Kalangal when they visited the place expecting to observe wintering birds on November 19.

They initially spotted the eagle in its flight at Kannampalayam and traced it to Kalangal, a few km away.

Though both Tawny eagle and Steppe eagle have broad baggy leggings, the former is paler than the latter.

While the gape flange of Tawny eagle does not extend beyond the middle of the eye, Steppe eagle’s gape flange extends to the rear of the eye.

According to N. Parthiparajan, president of WGWCT, its conservation status is ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Mr. Nishanth said the open dry lands at Kalangal attract a variety of cuckoos, pipits and birds of prey.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 9:52:12 AM |

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