Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle (Lophotriorchis kienerii)

Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Lophotriorchis kienerii | [authority] Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1835 | [UK] Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle | [FR] Aigle a ventre roux | [DE] Rotbauchadler | [ES] Aguila azor Ventrirroja | [NL] Roodbuik Havikarend


Monotypic species


Traditionally considered to be a member of the genus Hieraaetus but studies did not reveal a close relationship of the Rufous-bellied Eagle to any other species, including those in Hieraaetus. It is genetically highly divergent from all other “booted” eagles. The Rufous-bellied Eagle is morphologically specialized species with long toes, a crest, and an adult plumage different from the booted eagles.

Physical charateristics

Rufous-bellied Eagles are smallish eagles, 42?60 cm long. They have broad rounded wings, held flat while soaring, and a short broad tail. The adult has blackish upperparts and head. The foreneck and breast are white, and the tail and flight feathers are white barred with dark. The rest of the underparts are chestnut. Sexes are similar. The immature eagle has white in place of the adult’s chestnut plumage, and dark flank patches.

Listen to the sound of Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle

[audio: Hawk-Eagle.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 90 cm wingspan max.: 127 cm
size min.: 42 cm size max.: 60 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Oriental Region : also Sulawesi. Southwestern India (western Ghats), Sri Lanka, and along the eastern Himalayas south through southern China (Hainan), Indochina, and the Malay Peninsula to Indonesia, Phillipines, and Wallaces, east to the Moluccas and Flores.


On the Indian subcontinent, it is found in evergreen, mixed, and disturbed forest. In Sulawesi and the Lesser Sundas, it inhabits forest, occasionally ranging over nearby open country. In the Philippines, it occurs in forest and forest edges, but also flies over open areas, and it perches on horizontal branches just below the canopy above forested hillsides and valleys. On the Malay Peninsula, it is found in mature and logged forest at plains level and on slopes well into the montane zone to 1,400 m.


Surprisingly little is known, except that it builds a large stick nest placed in a tree and apparently has a clutch size of one egg. The incubation and nestling periods are not recorded. The wgg is incubated by both parents, they will defend nest aggresively. Display flights include soaring and diving with closed wings,

Feeding habits

on small mammals, medium-sized birds (including pigeons and Black-billed Koel), and reptiles, which it captures after a swift, diving flight. Hunts on the wing, often stooping at incredible speeds to catch birds in mid-air, but also captures prey on the ground or in treetops.

Video Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle


copyright: Anna Motis


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 may be small, but it is not believed to 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.
Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle status Least Concern


Partial migrant

Distribution map

Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle distribution range map

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