Ayres's hawk-eagle

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Ayres' hawk-eagle
Ayres's Hawk-eagle flight mabira jan06.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Hieraaetus
Species: H. ayresii
Binomial name
Hieraaetus ayresii
Gurney, 1862
Hieraaetus ayresii distribution map.png
Ayres's hawk-eagle Range

Ayres's hawk-eagle (Hieraaetus ayresii), also referred to as Ayres' eagle,[2] is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is native to African woodlands. Its name honors South African ornithologist Thomas Ayres.[3]

Description and Behavior[edit]

This relatively small eagle has a total length of 46 to 55 cm (18 to 22 in).[2] It usually weighs 685 to 1,045 g (1 lb 8.2 oz to 2 lb 4.9 oz); but may exceed 1,262 g (2 lb 12.5 oz). The female is larger and heavier than the male.[4] In one study, the wingspan of two individuals averaged 124 cm (49 in).[5] Ayres's hawk-eagle has a long, barred tail and relatively narrow wings. The adult plumage is predominantly black/brown, with heavily streaked white underparts; in some individuals, the underparts are much paler. Adults typically have a pronounced white shoulder where the leading edge of the wing meets the body (the carpal joint). The immature is drab and paler.

The Ayres's hawk-eagle hunts small mammals like rabbits and mice.

Distribution and Habitat[edit]

Ayres' eagle is an uncommon resident of non-arid Sub-Saharan Africa, and a non-breeding summer migrant to the far south of its range (South Africa; southern Zimbabwe, Mozambique).[2][6] It appears to prefer dense woodland and forest edges.[4]

Although an uncommon bird throughout its range, it is classified as Least Concern (LC) by the IUCN, due to its large range and its numbers - while small - appearing stable at the present time.


Juvenile in flight


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Hieraaetus ayresii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Newman, K (1998) Newman's Birds of Southern Africa. Halfway House: Southern Book Publishers. ISBN 1868127680.
  3. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 33. 
  4. ^ a b Sinclair, I & Davidson, I (1995) Southern African Birds: A Photographic Guide. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. ISBN 1868257851
  5. ^ Mendelsohn J.M.; Kemp, A.C.; Biggs, H.C.; Biggs, R.; &Brown, C.J. (1989) Wing Areas, Wing Loadings and Wing Spans of 66 Species of African Raptors, Ostrich, Vol. 60, No.1, p. 35-60
  6. ^ Allan, D. 1996. A Photographic Guide to Birds of Prey of Southern, Central and East Africa. Cape Town: New Holland Publishers. ISBN 1853689033.

External links[edit]