Booted eagle

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"Aquila minuta" redirects here. If based on Brehm (1831), it refers to this bird. The fossil bird described under the same name by Milne-Edwards (1871) is preliminarily known as "Hieraaetus" edwardsi but might belong in Aquila.
Booted eagle
MH Booted.jpg
A dark morph wintering in India
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Hieraaetus
Species: H. pennatus
Binomial name
Hieraaetus pennatus
(Gmelin, 1788)
  • Aquila minuta Brehm, 1831
  • Aquila pennata
Hieraaetus pennata.JPG
Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

The booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus, also classified as Aquila pennata) is a medium-sized bird of prey. It is about 46 cm (18 in) in length and has a wingspan of 120 cm (47 in). Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae.


The booted is a small eagle, comparable to the common buzzard in size though more eagle-like in shape. Males grow to about 510–770 g (1.12–1.70 lb) in weight, with females about 950–1,000 g (2.09–2.20 lb). There are two relatively distinct plumage forms. Pale birds are mainly light grey with a darker head and flight feathers. The other form has mid-brown plumage with dark grey flight feathers.

Booted eagle nest

The call is a shrill kli-kli-kli.

Light morph from below

Breeding and habitat[edit]

It breeds in southern Europe, North Africa and across Asia. It is migratory, wintering in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. This eagle lays 1–2 eggs in a tree or crag nest.

Showing the white marking on the wings termed as "landing lights"

This is a species of wooded, often hilly countryside with some open areas. It hunts small mammals, reptiles and birds up to 5 times its own weight.


Based on recent genetic research[citation needed] some authors reclassified this species to the genus Aquila, along with some[citation needed] or all[2] other Hieraaetus species. As it is the type species of Hieraaetus, should any of the hawk-eagles have been retained in a distinct genus then a new name for that group would have been necessary.

However, most reference lists currently use H. pennata.[3][4]

Along with the little eagle, this bird is one of the closest living relatives of the extinct Haast's eagle of New Zealand.[5]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Hieraaetus pennatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ According to Avibase, The Clements Checklist first reassigned the Hieraaetus spp. to Aquila in the 2001 revisions to the 5th edition. However, in the 2009 revisions to the 6th edition, four species (including booted eagle) were moved back to Hieraaetus.
    • Lepage, Denis. "Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus) (Gmelin, 1788)". Avibase. Retrieved 21 June 2014.  (See also similar pages for the other species.)
    • Clements, James F. (June 2007). The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World (6 ed.). Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pp. 47–48. 
    • The Clements Checklist team (23 December 2009). "Updates & Corrections – December 2009". The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 21 June 2014. Pages 47-48, Wahlberg’s Eagle Aquila wahlbergi, Booted Eagle Aquila pennata, Little Eagle Aquila morphnoides, Ayres’s Hawk-Eagle Aquila ayresii. All of these eagles belong in the genus Hieraaetus 
  3. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2014). "New World vultures, Secretarybird, kites, hawks & eagles". IOC World Bird List, version 4.2. International Ornithologists' Union. doi:10.14344/IOC.ML.4.2. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Hieraaetus Kaup, 1844". Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) [online database]. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Bunce, M.; Szulkin, M.; Lerner, H.R.L.; Barnes, I.; Shapiro, B.; Cooper, A.; Holdaway, R.N. (2005). "Ancient DNA provides new insights into the evolutionary history of New Zealand's extinct giant eagle". PLoS Biol. 3 (1): e9. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030009. PMC 539324free to read. PMID 15660162. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Clark, William S. (1–8 November 1986). The rufous morph of the Booted Eagle. International Bird Identification: Proceeedings of the 4th International Identification Meeting. Eilat: International Birdwatching Centre Eilat. pp. 21–24. 

External links[edit]