Black eagle

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The black eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis) belongs to the family Accipitridae.

These black eagle species are distributed in southern China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar and Southeast Asia.

Taxonomy of Black eagle

  • Scientific Name: Ictinaetus malaiensis
  • Common Name: Black eagle
  • French: Aigle noir; German: Malaienadler; Spanish: Ɓguila milana;
  • Other names: Indian black eagle; Neopus malayensis; I. malayensis; Falco malaiensis Temminck, 1822;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Temminck, 1822)
Ictinaetus malaiensis was earlier included in genus Falco. It was earlier known as I. malayensis. The two recognized subspecies are: I. m. perniger (Hodgson, 1836) and I. m. malaiensis (Temminck, 1822).


The black eagle is a large bird, measuring 65 to 80 cm in length and weighing 1,000 to 1,600 grams. The wingspan is 150 to 180 cm. The adult eagles have blackish plumage. The cere and legs are yellow. The wings are long and reach the tips of the tail while resting. The tail shows faint barring and upper tail coverts are paler. The primaries are long and well spread out in flight. Both male and female look similar.

Birds of India - Image of Black eagle - Ictinaetus malayensis
Birds of India - Image of Black eagle - Ictinaetus malayensis


These eagle species inhabit dense tropical forests. They are seen soaring over the canopy looking for prey.

Feeding habits

These eagle species feed on birds, mammals, lizards, frogs, large insects, nestlings and even young monkeys.


The breeding season varies with their range and in South India it is from November to January. These eagles build a platform nests on tall trees overlooking steep valley. One or two eggs are laid.


The black eagle subspecies I. m. perniger is distributed in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. The subspecies I. m. malaiensis is distributed in China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

Movement Patterns

These eagle species are sedentary, limiting their movements within the range.

Status and conservation

The black eagle species have an extremely large range and are considered least vulnerable. The global population is estimated to number 10,000 individual birds. Degradation of forests and loss of habitat are the main threats to the survival of these bird species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Ictinaetus malayensis
Species:I. malayensis
Binomial name:Ictinaetus malayensis
Distribution:southern China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Southeast Asia;
Feeding habits:small birds, small mammals, lizards, frogs and large insects;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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