African hawk-eagle

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African hawk-eagle
African Hawk-eagle Aquila spilogaster.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Aquila
Species: A. spilogaster
Binomial name
Aquila spilogaster
(Bonaparte, 1850)
Hieraaetus spilogaster distr.png
  • Hieraaetus spilogaster
A young specimen in the Kruger National Park

The African hawk-eagle (Aquila spilogaster) is a large bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. The African hawk-eagle breeds in tropical Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a bird of wooded hills, building a stick nest about 3 feet (almost 1 metre) in diameter in the fork of a large tree. The clutch is generally one or two eggs. The African hawk-eagle hunts small mammals, reptiles, and birds. The call is a shrill kluu-kluu-kluu.[2]


An adult flying in Kenya

The African hawk-eagle is a small to medium-sized eagle at about 55–65 cm in length. The upper parts are blackish. Its underparts are white heavily streaked with black. The underwing flight feathers are white with a black trailing edge. The underwing coverts are mostly black with white spots. Sexes are similar, but young birds are brown above and rufous coloration replaces the black underparts of the adult.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Aquila spilogaster egg

The African hawk-eagle is found in large parts of Africa south of the Sahara. It occurs in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.[1] This is a bird of well-wooded countryside which does not occur in forests.[2]


The African hawk-eagle is often seen in pairs. It has a very wide range and is a relatively common species. No particular threats have been identified but the population is thought to be declining slowly. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of "least concern".[1]


  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2012). "Aquila spilogaster". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Simmons, R.E. "Aquila spilogastra" (PDF). Atlas of Southern African Birds. Retrieved 2 November 2016.