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Observation of the Rare Greater Spotted Eagle in the Eastern Rhodopes

On 20 July a Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga) was spotted in the Eastern Rhodopes, between the villages of Lyaskovets and Zimovina, Municipality of Stambolovo.

The bird was observed and identified by Hristo Hristov, ecologist and coordinator on wildlife in the New Thracian Gold and Tim Asbreuk, student-volunteer in the project. Both observers are familiar with Lesser Spotted Eagle that is often mistaken with the Greater Spotted. Unfortunately, Hristo and Tim did not succeed to take a photo of bird. According to Hristo Hristov, most likely it is a wandering bird.

The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Bulgaria says there is no evidence of breeding Greater Spotted Eagles in Bulgaria. This eagle inhabits pristine areas dominated with mashland and woodland. It eats small mammals and carrion. In its present European distribution it is almost restricted to Russian territory. It winters in South-European river deltas and during migration time it can be observed more regularly in Bulgaria.

So far, we know that in the breeding season the Greater Spotted Eagle has been observed only at Byala Reka - by the prominent Bulgarian ornithologist and President of the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds Dr Petar Yankov and by the Dutch nature expert Leo Linnartz (in 2006).

The Greater Spotted Eagle is listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria as critically endangered species and in the IUCN Red List as vulnerable VU.

Read here more about the Greater Spotted Eagle

Read here about the birds in the Eastern Rhodopes

Photo by Leo Linnartz

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