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

Indian Black Eagle
Ictinaetus malayensis

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Asian Black Eagle, Black Eagle, Ictinaetus malaiensis.

Ictinaetus malayensis
click to enlarge
Distribution: Australasian/Indomalayan. INDIA, SRI LANKA and CHINA to Southeast Asia, GREATER SUNDAS, SULAWESI, and MOLUCCAS. more....

Subspecies: 2 races. I. m. malayensis: MYANMAR, south-central and southeastern CHINA and TAIWAN, south through Indochina and Malay Peninsula to GREATER SUNDAS, SULAWESI and MOLUCCAS; I. m. perniger: Northern INDIA and NEPAL; southern INDIA and SRI LANKA.

Taxonomy: The studies of Bunce et al. (2004), Lerner and Mindell (2005), Gjershaug (2006), and Všli (2006), based on DNA sequences of nuclear and mitochonrial genes, showed that this species is a member of a well supported clade including the Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) of Africa and the Greater Spotted (L. clangus) and Lesser Spotted Eagles (L. pomarinus) of Eurasia. The latter two species were formerly placed in Aquila. In contrast, based on sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, Haring et al. (2007) found that this form is a distantly related sister group of the Asian hawk-eagles (Nisaetus). Pending further studies to clarify these relationships and deal with their taxonomic implications, the genus Ictinaetus is maintained here.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006).

Habitat and Habits: Primarily inhabits moist deciduous and evergreen lowland, hill, and montane forest, favoring slopes at all altitudes. In the Malay Peninsula, most sightings are over montane forest up to the highest summits, and it occasionally hunts over highland tea plantations; found much less often in lowland forests (Wells 1999). Hunts by soaring just over and between tree crowns, over clearings, forest edges, and along forest-lined creeks and rivers. Also soars high over forest, especially on ridge tops. Occurs singly, or in twos (Coates and Bishop 1997, Wells 1999). more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on mammals, reptiles, and birds. The chick in a nest in Sri Lanka was fed exclusively on Giant Squirrels (Ratufa macroura) (65%) and rats (Rattus) spp. (35%), and by the end of the nestling period, the chick was consuming four squirrels per day (Gunawardena (2006). These eagles take nestlings and eggs from bird nests in the canopy. more....

Breeding: The nest is a large structure with a base of thick sticks, but made mostly of thin twigs, placed in the crown fork in the dense canopy of a tall tree (Wells 1999, Rasmussen and Anderton 2005). A nest in Sri Lanka studied by Gunawardena (2006) was well concealed and placed 25 m high in the highest main branches of a tree in a location very inaccessible to humans. He estimated the incubation period at this nest to be 35-40 days, and the single young fledged at about 60 days. Throughout the nestling period, the adults brought fresh green leaves to the nest daily. more....

Conservation: One of the commonest and most widely distributed large eagle species in Asia, but its population may be declining as the result of deforestation (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). 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 10,000 to 100,000 birds. BirdLife International (2009) estimated the population at 10,000 mature birds, but noted that the available data on population size and trends are poor.

Important References: 
Clark, W.S. 1994. Indian Black Eagle. P. 192 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.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Gjershaug, J.O. 2006. Taxonomy and conservation status of hawk-eagles
  (genus Nisaetus) in south-east Asia. Ph.D. thesis, Norwegian University of
  Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway;
Gunawardena, K. 2006. A nest of the Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis in
  Sri Lanka. BirdingASIA 6:23-27.
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.

Sites of Interest:
ARRCN Indian Black Eagle Project
Devoted to gathering information on the ecology and conservation of this species.

Balakrishnan, Peroth
BT, Sowmithri
Gurung, Surya
Naoroji, Rishad K.
Soni, Hiren
Suparman, Usep
Supriatna, Adam A.

Last modified: 7/14/2015

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Indian Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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

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