Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis)


French: Aigle noir German: Malaienadler Spanish: Águila milana
Other common names: Indian Black Eagle

Falco malaiensis


, 1822,

Indian Archipelago = Java


Specific name traditionally spelt malayensis, but spelling on recently rediscovered wrapper is malaiensis, and this becomes the oldest valid name#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • I. m. perniger (Hodgson, 1836) – extreme NE Pakistan (Murree Hills) and N India, Nepal, Bhutan, Assam and W & N Myanmar; also C India, Odisha, Western Ghats and N & S Eastern Ghats, and Sri Lanka.
  • I. m. malaiensis (Temminck, 1822) – CS & SE China (S Shaanxi S to Yunnan and Anhui S to Fujian, C Guangdong and Hainan)#R and Taiwan, S through Indochina and Malay Peninsula to Greater Sundas, Sulawesi and Moluccas; also Butung, Banggai Is (Peleng) and possibly Sula Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    65–80 cm; 1000–1600 g; wingspan 148–182 cm. Largish, kite-like eagle with broad paddle-shaped wings, long tail, smallish head and bill, large gape. Overall... read more


    Generally silent, except during breeding season. Most common call a repeated, rather hoarse-... read more


    Forested hills and mountains from sea-level to 3300 m elevation (but mostly at 300–2000 m);... read more

    Food and feeding

    Prey said to include birds (especially nestlings but also eggs), lizards, small mammals, frogs, bats and large insects. At Sri Lanka nest,... read more


    Season varies: Nov–Jan in S India, later in N India; Oct–Apr in Bhutan; Nov–Feb in Sri Lanka; Apr–Aug on Java;... read more


    Mainly sedentary, but some wandering suggested by vagrancy into Pakistan (where has bred) from W... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Rough global population estimate of 10,000 individuals. Widespread, but usually rare to uncommon, or locally common; fairly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Clark, W.S., Marks, J.S., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis). 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 19 January 2020).