Black Eagle

The Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis) is a bird of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. It is the sole member of the genus Ictinaetus.

This bird’s breeding habitat is in southern Asia from India and Sri Lanka to south east Asia. It prefers mountain woodlands, and builds a stick nest in a tree into which it lays 1-2 eggs.

Black Eagle is a large raptor at about 70-80cm in length. Adults have all-black plumage, with a yellow bill base and feet. The wings are long and pinched in at the base giving them a distinctive shape. The tail is also long and shows faint barring. The wings are held in a shallow V in flight. The wing shape helps to distinguish this species from the dark form of Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus).

Both males and femaless are similar, but younger birds have a buff head, underparts and underwing coverts.

Their preferred diet includes mammals, birds and eggs. It is a productive nest-predator and is known for its superb flight, zipping in and out of the canopy. Its talons are specially designed for snatching and holding on to the prey.

Seen on hot afternoon, scouring the treetops for a nest, this bird is easily spotted by its jet black color, large size, and a ‘characteristic’ slow flight, sometimes just above the canopy.