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Ayres's Hawk-Eagle - BirdForum Opus

Photo by tconzemi
Ngorongoro-Crater, Tanzania, December 2010
Hieraaetus ayresii

Aquila ayresii


55 cms

  • Brown head
  • Black bill
  • White and black throat
  • White legs
  • Brownish-black back
  • Yellow eyes

Variation: underside streaking can be very variable, from strongly streaked to almost clean white with dark flanks.

Photo by Tom Tarrant
Mabira Forest, Uganda


Africa south of Sahara:
Western Africa: Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal


This is a monotypic species[1].

Aquila vs. Hieraaetus

Hieraaetus species are sometimes placed in a broader defined Aquila (e.g. Clements, 2005). Sibley & Monroe (1996) and Howard & Moore (2003) retain the placement in Hieraaetus, and the Opus awaits further clarification.


Edge of evergreen forest. Open savanna.



The diet includes rabbits, field mice and other rodents, and the eggs of other birds.


The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and 1 white egg is laid.


  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/Clements%206.5.xls/view
  2. Birdforum thread discussing id of Ayres's Hawk-Eagle

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