Mountain hawk-eagle

   ›      ›   Mountain hawk-eagle - Nisaetus nipalensis.

The mountain hawk-eagle (Nisaetus nipalensis) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These mountain hawk-eagle species are distributed in Indian subcontinent, Indochina, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Indonesia.

Taxonomy of Mountain hawk-eagle

  • Scientific Name: Nisaetus nipalensis
  • Common Name: Mountain hawk-eagle
  • French: Aigle montagnard; German: Berghaubenadler; Spanish: Águila montañesa;
  • Other names: Hodgson's hawk-eagle; Spizaetus nipalensis;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Hodgson, 1836
Nisaetus nipalensis was earlier placed in the genus Spizaetus. It is closely related to N. bartelsi, N. alboniger, N. lanceolatus and N. philippensis. The three recognized subspecies are: N. n. orientalis (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844), N. n. nipalensis Hodgson, 1836 and N. n. kelaarti (Legge, 1878).

Indian birds - Image of Mountain hawk-eagle - Nisaetus nipalensis
Indian birds - Image of Mountain hawk-eagle - Nisaetus nipalensis


The mountain hawk-eagle is a large bird of prey, measuring 65 to 85 cm in length and weighing 1,800 to 3,500 grams. The wingspan is 130 to 160 cm. They typically have brown upper parts and paler under parts. The under sides and tail are barred. The breast and belly and underwing coverts are streaked.


The mountain hawk-eagle inhabit mountain woodlands. They have been observed in mountains at altitude of 4,000 meters.

Feeding habits

These species feed on birds, reptiles and small mammals. Hares, pheasants and quails are the preferred preys.


The mountain hawk-eagle breeding season varies with their range. In Himalayas, these eagles breed during February and June. They build stick nests on trees. The nest contains a single egg.


The subspecies N. n. orientalis is distributed in Japan. The subspecies N. n. nipalensis is distributed in Pakistan, Himalayas of India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Indochina region and Malay Peninsula. The subspecies N. n. kelaarti is distributed in South India and Sri Lanka.

Movement Patterns

These species of birds are mostly sedentary. In winter, they may move to lower altitudes.

Status and conservation

The mountain hawk-eagle species have an extremely large range and are considered least vulnerable. There is steady decline in population due to loss of forest cover. Habitat destruction and declining availability of prey species are the main threats to the survival of these 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 Nisaetus nipalensis
Species:N. nipalensis
Binomial name:Nisaetus nipalensis
Distribution:Indian subcontinent, Indochina region, China, Japan, Indonesia and Northern Southeast Asia;
Feeding habits:birds, reptiles and small mammals;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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