Greater Spotted Eagle: The Ultimate Guide


Medium-sized and stocky in appearance, the Greater Spotted Eagle is a predominantly brown-colored bird born with little white spots that grow into bold, eye-catching bands across the upper wings once full maturity has been reached.

Then, once the Greater Spotted Eagle reaches maturity and becomes an adult, those bands will slowly begin to fade out, leaving only dark brown feathers across the body, wings, and head area.

Sometimes, there will be lighter-hued feathers on the upper side of the body, and occasionally across the underbelly and interspersed within the flight feathers.

Male Vs Female

As is the case with most types of birds that are members of the Eagle family, the Greater Spotted Eagle tends to create larger females than males.

Due to this, while the average male Greater Spotted Eagle will be around 59-71cm in length (or 23-28 inches) and around 1.6kg-2.5kg (3.5lb to around 5.5lb) in weight, the females are usually a lot larger than this.

To give you an idea, the typical female Greater Spotted Eagle is usually around 71cm or more (28 inches+) and will usually weigh around 3.2kg (which works out to around 7lbs).  

What Adaptations Do They Have?

The Greater Spotted Eagle has plenty of different adaptations that have ensured it has been able to survive in the wild.

For starters, the Greater Spotted Eagle is one of the larger species of Eagle you’ll come across, which helps to make it stronger and more powerful than potential threats or predators.

It also has large wings that are longer than the body, which allows them to soar and circle the skies for many hours in search of prey.

On top of that, the Greater Spotted Eagle also has very good eyesight, which allows it to spot its prey from over 100 feet away.

Breeding/Reproduction Behaviour 

During the breeding season, the Greater Spotted Eagle will form partnerships with each other, which usually lasts a lifetime.

The female Greater Spotted Eagle will lay around 1-3 eggs in a tree nest that the male and female will have made together, with the female generally seeing through the incubation process by herself.

Once the young are born, they will spend a short period of time in the nest with their parents, with the female usually taking the responsibility of caring for the young and nest, while the male will protect the nest from predators and other threats, as well as also hunting for food and bringing it back for the mother to give to the young.

Then, once the young have reached full maturity, they will then usually fledge and leave the nest in search of a mate and territory of their own. 

Their Calls/Sounds

The Greater Spotted Eagle is not an overly vocal bird and does not tend to screech in the way that other Eagles do.

Although, while hunting the Greater Spotted Eagle has been known to let out a piercing screech, as well as during times in which they feel threatened and want to appear domineering.

However, even though they might not be as loud as other species of Eagle, they are known to frequently make a little “yip” noise (almost like a dog!) throughout the day, whether that be perched on a branch waiting for prey, or while trying to communicate with their counterpart.

What Do They Eat (Diet)

As a member of the Eagle family, the Greater Spotted Eagle eats a variety of different animals, including waterfowl, frogs, snakes, and lizards.

Due to the larger size of the Greater Spotted Eagle, they have also been known to hunt larger mammals, including rabbits and hares.

If needed, the Greater Spotted Eagle will also hunt insects and grubs, although this is only usually during times of food shortages.

Where Do They Live (Habitat)

As an entirely migratory species, the Greater Spotted Eagle is native to northern Europe, although it can migrate to Eurasia or south-eastern Europe with the changing of the seasons.

Sometimes, the Greater Spotted Eagle has even been known to migrate to north-eastern Africa, to the Indian Subcontinent, and even to the Middle East, although this is seen far less frequently.

Nevertheless, this species is known to be seen most commonly in Germany.

What Are Their Nesting Habits

Greater Spotted Eagle

More often than not, the Greater Spotted Eagle is a species of Eagle that shows a strong preference for nesting in wooded areas.

For this reason, the Greater Spotted Eagle can usually be found in lowland forests, the edges of forests, valleys, bogs, meadows, open forests, and sometimes even near rivers.

Their nesting habits are relatively consistent, and they will usually opt to nest in lowlands for the most part of the year.

However, during the breeding season, the Greater Spotted Eagle may also sometimes nest up to 1000 meters above sea level to help raise the chances of their young being kept safe from any threats. 

How Long Do They Live (Lifespan)

The lifespan of the Greater Spotted Eagle is usually anywhere up to 20 years, although there have been records to show that the Greater Spotted Eagle is able to live for longer if held in captivity.

Of course, a variety of factors may influence the overall lifespan of the Greater Spotted Eagle – including being hunted by humans and deforestation.

What Predators Do They Have

As the Greater Spotted Eagle is larger in appearance than some types of eagle, the Greater Spotted Eagle does not tend to be at risk of being hunted by predators!

Nevertheless, they may be at risk of being hunted by their own kind, as well as being hunted by other species of eagles and even by humans.

What Are Their Feathers Like?

The Greater Spotted Eagle features a beautiful brown, black, cream, and white color pattern that is interspersed within the feathers.

The face of the Greater Spotted Eagle usually tends to be light brown and white, while the neck is usually either dark brown or black.

The back and wings of the Greater Spotted Eagle tend to be a mixture of different shades of brown, with speckles of white dots and bands – hence the name!

The underside of the flight feathers features the same color pattern as the rest of the body, though the underside area of the flight feathers tends to feature white bands.

What Does Their Poop Look Like?

As we’re sure that you might have already guessed, the Greater Spotted Eagle has poop that is likes much like other types of bird poop.

When fresh, the poop of the Greater Spotted Eagle is typically brown in appearance and covered in white excrement that hardens after it has been given time to dry.

Do They Migrate?

Yes, as we have already mentioned above, the Greater Spotted Eagle is considered to be an entirely migratory species.

This means that, despite being native to parts of northern Europe, the Greater Spotted Eagle will frequently migrate to other areas of the world, showing a preference for wooded areas.

Depending on the time of year (as well as additional situational factors) the Greater Spotted Eagle will usually opt to migrate to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and sometimes even north Africa. 

Conservation Status

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the Greater Spotted Eagle currently has a conservation status classification of “vulnerable” which means that this species of Eagle is close to becoming extinct.

The main reason for this is due to the fact that they are particularly sensitive to change, and do not adapt well to environments that are different from their natural habitat.

Sadly, the Greater Spotted Eagle also tends to have a relatively low breeding success rate due to a natural occurrence where one chick eats the other.

More often than not, this natural occurrence usually consists of the larger chick eating the smaller chick in the nest so that only the strongest one will fledge, which in turn lowers the population rate. 

Fun Facts

As juveniles, the Greater Spotted Eagle tends to have little white spots throughout its body, which tend to gradually expand into bands when they reach adulthood.

Greater Spotted Eagles are highly adept hunters that have a fantastic sense of smell and vision – which allows them to be able to spot prey while they are soaring hundreds of feet above the ground.

The Greater Spotted Eagle is currently classified as “vulnerable” which means that they are at risk of being officially listed as extinct. 

As a monogamous species of Eagle, the Greater Spotted Eagle tends to form a partnership with a mate soon after they have fledged from the nest, and this is a partnership that usually lasts throughout the entirety of the pair’s lives.