Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Cassin's Hawk-eagle (Aquila africana)


French: Aigle de Cassin German: Schwarzachseladler Spanish: Águila congoleña

Limnaetus africanus


, 1865,

Ogabi River, Gabon


Previously placed in genus Spizaetus, and before that in Hieraaetus or, more often, in monotypic genus Cassinaetus. Recent molecular study, however, suggested that this species is closely related to several Aquila eagles (A. gurneyi, A. chrysaetos, A. audax, A. verreauxii, A. fasciata)#R; another phylogenetic study indicated that present species clustered with a group which includes A. gurneyi, A. audax and A. fasciata, though this relationship not strongly supported#R. Monotypic.


Sierra Leone and Liberia E to DRCongo and W Uganda; recorded also in NW Angola, and several records from W Kenya#R,#R and one record from the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania#R.

Descriptive notes

50–61 cm; male 938–1049 g, female 1153 g; wingspan 103–113 cm. Slight crest, blackish above with short but broad rounded wings, black underwing-coverts and... read more


Only reported vocalization is a long, clear scream lasting 1–2 seconds, given in soaring... read more


Lowland tropical evergreen forest and adjacent secondary and gallery forest, even entering... read more

Food and feeding

Poorly known. Mainly birds, also tree squirrels, recorded from stomach contents, but snakes also observed. Probably hunts mostly by perch... read more


Laying in Oct–Dec in Ghana and Gabon; Oct in Uganda, but also record of nest-building in Gabon in Jan and nest (100 cm wide) possibly... read more


None definitely recorded. Probably resident and sedentary, but juveniles presumably dispersive to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Recorded infrequently, but probably commoner than supposed, and large tracts of forest habitat still exist in Congo Basin.... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Cassin's Hawk-eagle (Aquila africana). 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).