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eagle sp. MacLeod Ganj, India, Nov 2014

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Old Tuesday 2nd June 2020, 19:25   #1
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eagle sp. MacLeod Ganj, India, Nov 2014

I shot this eagle in MacLeod Ganj, originally ID'd as Tawny. But now I'm starting to wonder whether it could be Indian Spotted?

Please educate me either way.
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Old Tuesday 2nd June 2020, 20:59   #2
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large bill, short feet and no white basis to fingers all better for Tawny
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Old Tuesday 2nd June 2020, 21:11   #3
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I am no expert, but an Indian Spotted Eagle has 6 fingered primaries according to birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Looks like Tawny to me too.
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Old Wednesday 3rd June 2020, 14:02   #4
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Originally Posted by tconzemi View Post
large bill, short feet and no white basis to fingers all better for Tawny
Given that gene flow between 'African Tawny Eagle' Aquila (rapax) rapax and 'Indian Tawny Eagle' A.(r.) vindhiana is non-existent (the separation is in excess of 2000km for largely sedentary taxa), I would argue it makes sense to treat them as two distinct conservation units worthy of recognition, notwithstanding their genetic closeness.

Both taxa probably deserve the 'Vulnerable' status of the unsplit Tawny Eagle; both just occur in the Extended WP, the former in the Tihama, SW Saudi Arabia, stretching down into the western mountains of Yemen, and the latter in extreme SE Iran, close to the Pakistan border, where a tiny population exists.
The fuzziness of all supposedly absolute taxonomic distinctions - Stephen Jay Gould (1977) "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History".
Species and subspecies are but a convenient fiction - Kees van Deemter (2010), "In praise of vagueness". Biology is messy
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