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African hawk-eagle

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Title: African hawk-eagle  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Eagle, Hieraaetus, Buteoninae, Golden eagle, Aquila (genus)
Collection: African Birds of Prey, Animals Described in 1850, Aquila (Genus), Birds of Africa, Birds of Cameroon, Birds of Somalia, Birds of South Africa, Eagles
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

African hawk-eagle

African hawk-eagle
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Aquila
Species: A. spilogaster
Binomial name
Aquila spilogaster
(Bonaparte, 1850)
  • 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 up to the size of a francolin. The call is a shrill kluu-kluu-kluu.


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.

Aquila spilogaster egg


  • BirdLife International (2012). "Hieraaetus spilogaster".   Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Barlow, Wacher and Disley. Birds of The Gambia. ISBN 1-873403-32-1
  • Collinson, M. Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palaearctic lists. British Birds vol 99 (June 2006), 306-323
  • Lerner, H. R. L. and D. P. Mindell. (2005) Phylogeny of eagles, Old World vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (37) 327–346.

External links

  • African hawk-eagle - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds
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