Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Rufous-bellied Eagle
Lophotriorchis kienerii

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Aquila kienerii, Hieraaetus kienerii, Chestnut-bellied Eagle, Chestnut-bellied Hawk Eagle, Lophotriccus kienerii, Rufous-bellied Dwarf Eagle, Rufous-bellied Hawk-eagle, Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle.

Lophotriorchis kienerii
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan. Southwestern INDIA (western Ghats), SRI LANKA, and along the eastern Himalayas south through southern CHINA (Hainan), Indochina, and the Malay Peninsula to INDONESIA, PHILIPPINES, and WALLACES, east to the MOLUCCAS and Flores. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. H. k. formosus: MYANMAR and southern CHINA (Hainan) through western, southern, and east-central Indochina and Malay Peninsula to GREATER SUNDAS, BALI, PHILIPPINES, and SULAWESI; H. k. kienerii: Northeastern INDIA and NEPAL; southwestern INDIA and SRI LANKA.

Taxonomy: Traditionally considered to be a member of the genus Hieraaetus (e.g., Dickinson 2003), but the studies of Lerner and Mindell (2005) and Haring et al. (2007), based on the molecular sequences of mitochondrial and nuclear genes, did not reveal a close relationship of the Rufous-bellied Eagle to any other species, including those in Hieraaetus, and they found it to be genetically highly divergent from all other "booted" eagles. They pointed out that the Rufous-bellied Eagle is morphologically specialized species with long toes, a crest, and an adult plumage different from the booted eagles. According to Haring et al. (op cit.), the genetic distances between this species and the undisputed members of Hieraaetus are in a similar range as in other monotypic accipitrine genera, and they recommended that it be placed in a monotypic genus, for which they suggested resurrecting the name Lophotriorchis Sharpe 1874.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: On the Indian subcontinent, it is found in evergreen, mixed, and disturbed forest (Rasmussen and Anderton 2005). In Sulawesi and the Lesser Sundas, it inhabits forest, occasionally ranging over nearby open country (Coates and Bishop 1997). In the Philippines, it occurs in forest and forest edges, but also flies over open areas, and it perches on horizontal branches just below the canopy above forested hillsides and valleys (Kennedy et al. 2000). On the Malay Peninsula, it is found in mature and logged forest at plains level and on slopes well into the montane zone to 1,400 m (Wells 1999). It is usually seen soaring over forest slopes and hills, occurring singly or in twos (usually an adult and a juvenile). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on small mammals, medium-sized birds (including pigeons and Black-billed Koel), and reptiles, which it captures after a swift, diving flight (Coates and Bishop 1997). Hunts on the wing, often stooping at incredible speeds to catch birds in mid-air (Kennedy et al. 2000), but also captures prey on the ground or in treetops. more....

Breeding: Surprisingly little is known, except that it builds a large stick nest placed in a tree and apparently has a clutch size of one egg. According to Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001), the incubation and nestling periods are not recorded. more....

Conservation: This is presently a common species in many parts of its range, but its populations are probably declining in other areas as a result of deforestation. Categorized globally as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the total population, including adults and non-breeding immatures at the start of the breeding season, at between 1,000 to 10,000 birds, nearer the latter figure, but questioned its accuracy. BirdLife International estimated the number of adults at 1,000 to 10,000 individuals, but noted that the supporting data are of poor quality.

Important References: 
Clark, W.S. 1994. Rufous-bellied Hawk-eagle. P. 200 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Dickinson, E.C. 2005. The correct authorship of the name Astur kienerii
  (Rufous-bellied Hawk Eagle). Bulletin of the British
  Ornithologists' Club 125:317-320.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Lerner, H.R., and D.P. Mindell. 2005. Phylogeny of eagles, Old World
  vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37:327-346.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Parry, S.J. 2001. The booted eagles (Aves: Accipitridae): perspectives in
  evolutionary biology. Ph.D. dissertation, University College, London.

Deshmukh, Ajit
Hathwar, Vishnupriya
Kim Chye, Lim
Naoroji, Rishad K.

Last modified: 9/25/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Rufous-bellied Eagle Lophotriorchis kienerii. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 26 May. 2020

Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Copyright © 1999-2012 The Peregrine Fund. All Rights Reserved.