Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes)


French: Baza huppard German: Dreifarbenweih Spanish: Baza negro

Falco leuphotes

Dumont de Sainte Croix

, 1820,

Pondicherry, India


Form wolfei, based on single specimen, doubtfully distinct from nominate. Validity of forms syama and andamanica also questioned#R; further study needed. Birds from Myanmar and Thailand (sometimes awarded separate race, burmana) may belong to race syama, as opposed to rather similar nominate leuphotes. In view of doubts over validity of races, species sometimes treated as monotypic#R. Four subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. l. wolfei Deignan, 1948 – Sichuan (C China).
  • A. l. syama (Hodgson, 1837) – N India (Uttarakhand)#R E to SE China (Guangdong, Hainan), probably also S Myanmar and W Thailand#R; this race postulated to be breeding in Laos#R and presumably responsible also for recent summer (Jun) record in Bhutan#R; winters S through Thailand and Malay Peninsula to W Java.
  • A. l. leuphotes (Dumont de Sainte Croix, 1820) – SW India and Sri Lanka (but breeding reports questionable#R), possibly S Myanmar and W Thailand#R; may breed also in parts of Indochina.
  • A. l. andamanica Abdulali & Grubh, 1970 – South Andaman (Andaman Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    28–35 cm; 168–224 g; wingspan 64–80 cm. Small, chunky black kite with long crest (often held erect, except in flight) on pigeon-like head; in flight,... read more


    Quavering whistle recalling Milvus migrans, a shrill gull-like mewing and a weak scream... read more


    Open deciduous or evergreen tropical forest, including second growth and bamboo-dominated areas,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly large insects (and their larvae), especially grasshoppers (also beetles, mantids and moths), but also lizards and tree-frogs;... read more


    Breeding accounts scarce. No detailed accounts of aerial display, but switchback manoeuvres likened to those by Accipiter gentilis... read more


    Considered probably resident, or only partially migratory, in SW India, on Andaman Is, and from... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally uncommon, but probably passes undetected due to unobtrusive habits, and may be commoner than thought; e.g.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clark, W.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).