(or Accipitriformes, q.v.)
(G. de Sparre, 1835)
The rufous-bellied hawk-eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii) is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae that is found in the forested regions of tropical Asia. Relatively small for eagles and contrastingly patterned like a falcon, this species was earlier placed in the genus Hieraaetus and sometimes also in the genus Aquila but thought to be distinctive enough to belong to a separate genus.
Adult rufous-bellied hawk-eagles are distinctive in their pattern. They have a black hood with a short crest. Chestnut underparts and wing coverts contrast with the white on the throat and breast. The sexes are almost indistinguishable in plumage but females are slightly larger and have more black on the face. They perch in a very upright stance and the wingtip almost reaches the tail. The tarsus is fully feathered. Juveniles have the underparts very white but has dark markings on the sides of the body, head mask and edge of underwing coverts and can appear similar to a booted eagle (Aquila pennata). In flight the underwing lining is dark and the greater coverts are black. The flight feathers are thinly barred with a black edge. The tail is dark and barred.
This eagle was originally described as Astur kienerii on the basis of a specimen from the Himalayas. It was later moved to Limnaetus by Jerdon, the genus Lophotriorchis and still later to Hieraaetus, the so-called "hawk-eagles". A study of the phylogeny of some Hieraaetus species and other eagles indicated that they were nested within the Aquila clade of eagles, resulting in their repositioning. Another molecular study of the eagles suggested that kienerii was distinctive enough to be retained in a separate genus for which the name Kienastur had been suggested.
Within its wide range, two subspecies are recognized although there is no marked plumage difference. The nominate kienerii of India and Sri Lanka (the northern birds are larger); and formosus described by Erwin Stresemann in 1924 which is widely distributed across Southeast Asia from Burma to Sulawesi.
Habitat and distribution
This species is associated mainly with hill forests. In India, they are commoner in the Western Ghats than along the Himalayas where they occur from Nepal to Assam. They also occur in parts of the Eastern Ghats. Their distribution range includes Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Hainan, Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines, Sulawesi and Sumbawa.
Behaviour and ecology
Rufous-bellied hawk-eagles are usually seen in flight, soaring high over the forest canopy. They dive to capture prey that can include birds and mammals in the air, canopy, or forest floor. Birds the size of the Sri Lanka wood pigeon, Kaleej pheasant and junglefowl have been recorded as prey. The breeding season of the eagles is in winter with the young fledging in spring when the prey species are also breeding. The display flight involves stooping and wing-quivering. Their calls include a series of high pitched fwick, fwick... notes followed by a thin sweek!. They nest on a large, often bare tree, building a large platform of dry sticks and branches that they break off. The nest is lined with green leaves and a single egg is laid. Both parents take turns in incubation, feeding and nest defence.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Lophotriorchis kienerii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
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- Blanford, WT (1895). The Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 3. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 345–346.
- Gjershaug, Jan Ove (2006). Taxonomy and conservation status of hawk-eagles (genus Nisaetus) in South-East Asia. Unpublished thesis. Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
- Mayr, E & G W Cottrell, ed. (1979). Check-list of birds of the world. Volume 1 (2 ed.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. pp. 384–385.
- Taher, Humayun (1992). "Rufousbellied Hawk-Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii (E. Geoffroy) in Andhra Pradesh". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 89 (3): 368.
- Baker, ECS (1928). Fauna of British India. Birds. Volume 5 (2 ed.). London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 80–82.
- Bligh, Samuel (1886). "Note on Kiener's Hawk-Eagle". Ibis 28 (3): 299. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1886.tb06291.x.
- Kinloch, AM (1907). "The nesting of the Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle (Lophotriorchis kieneri)". J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 17 ((4)): 1027–1028.
- Jayaneththi, H. Bandula. "Some observations of nesting behavior of endangered Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle (Hieraaetus kienerii) in Udagama-kegalle mountains of central Sri Lanka". Tigerpaper 33 (2): 1–3.
- Iqbal, Muhammad; Dwimulyawati; Motoko Sugimoto Fujita; Fangyuan Hua; Berly Zetra (2011). "A Breeding Record of the Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis (Hieraaetus) kienerii in Sumatra". Kukila 15: 75–79.
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- Rufous-bellied eagle videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
- BirdLife species factsheet for Lophotriorchis kienerii