African Hawk-Eagle (Aquila spilogaster)

African Hawk-Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Aquila spilogaster | [authority] Bonaparte, 1850 | [UK] African Hawk-Eagle | [FR] Aigle fascie | [DE] Afrikanischer Habichtsadler | [ES] Aguila-azor Africana | [NL] Afrikaanse Havikarend


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Aquila have long, broad wings and a medium tail. There are currently fourteen species of large predominantly dark-coloured eagles in the genus Aquila. This genus has a worldwide distribution.

Physical charateristics

Size is medium to large, the upperparts are blackish; below it is white but heavily streaked with black, except on the legs , large white windows in the primaries and the trailing edge of the underwing is broadly black. Underwing coverts mostly black with a broad band of white spots.

wingspan min.: 61 cm wingspan max.: 71 cm
size min.: 42 cm size max.: 44 cm
incubation min.: 42 days incubation max.: 44 days
fledging min.: 61 days fledging max.: 71 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Africa : widespread. The African Hawk Eagle is distributed from south of the Sahara to just south of the tropic of capricorn in South Africa.


They are usually found in woodland areas of hilly and ruggy country. Avoids dense evergreen forests.


It breeds in wooded hills, usually from May to July. It builds a large bowl-shaped nest of about one metre in diameter. Nest is located in a fork, in a tall tree, along wooded river banks. It is made with sticks. Female lays one to three eggs. Incubation lasts about 42 to 44 days, shared by both parents. Only the strongest chick is reared if there is more of one egg, the strongest chick will kill the smaller ones. The young fledge after about 65 days.

Feeding habits

It feeds mainly on birds up to the size of Guineafowl. Francolin are probably its main diet. The African Hawk Eagle also feeds on small mammals such as the Mongoose and Dassie. Reptiles also form part of the diet.

Video African Hawk-Eagle


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
African Hawk-Eagle status Least Concern


Resident and sedentary with no movements reported

Distribution map

African Hawk-Eagle distribution range map

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