Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Pygmy Eagle (Hieraaetus weiskei)


French: Aigle de Weiske German: Papuazwergadler Spanish: Águila papúa
Other common names: New Guinea Hawk-eagle

Eutolmaetus weiskei


, 1900,

Astrolabe Mountains, New Guinea, altitude 3000 feet [c. 915 m]


Until recently considered conspecific with H. morphnoides, but differs in its smaller size, (wing length 308–317 mm vs 332–396 mm in males, 327–342 mm vs 367–413 mm in females) (score at least 2); less-pronounced or non-existent malar stripe (ns[1]); more evenly distributed dark crown streaks on white base (vs more densely packed broader dark central crown streaks on biscuit-coloured base, creating capped effect with more prominent pale postocular supercilium) (2); breast streaking more prominent and extensive (2); absence of broad pale brown (biscuit-coloured) collar (from neck sides around nape) (3); less-crested crown (ns[1]); seven (not six) tail bars, darker and broader in pattern and reaching edges of feathers (ns[2]); darker upperparts including flight feathers (ns[1]). Full details published elsewhere#R#R. Monotypic.


New Guinea and Moluccas (Halmahera, Ternate, Buru, Seram)#R,#R,#R.

Descriptive notes

38–48 cm; male 483 g (one); wingspan 112–126 cm. Like closely related H. morphnoides, a small, polymorphic Hieraaetus. In addition to... read more


Mostly silent, but gives a whistling “sip sip see” during courtship flights.


Uses primary rainforest, riparian forest, monsoon forest, and forest edges; soars low above forest... read more

Food and feeding

No information aside from report of attacks on groups of Corvus tristis.


Very poorly known.


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread in New Guinea but generally considered uncommon. No data on population trends or numbers, but probably declining wherever... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Pygmy Eagle (Hieraaetus weiskei). 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 16 September 2019).