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Javan Hawk-eagle or ????? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I took this shot in West Java ( mount Gede-P.), this bird was huge, an eagle of some kind. I don't have many bird books here in Java as all of them are in Sweden thus I need help IDing this bird.


  • Javan Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus bartelsi 1.jpg
    Javan Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus bartelsi 1.jpg
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Tom Tarrant

Well-known member
Opus Editor
Hi Mehd,
I found Javan Hawk-Eagle at Cibodas NP (Gunung Gede?) in 1991 but the bird that I saw was a pale immature. Did you get a look at it perched?

Andy Bright

Staff member
cuckooroller said:
I still think this is Spilornis cheela bido (Crested Serpent-Eagle).
I expect anyone with an interest has already run this through photoshop. But if there are any far-eastern raptor experts without the ability, here's a lighter version. I hope you do not mind, Mehd.


  • Javan Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus bartelsis&h.jpg
    Javan Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus bartelsis&h.jpg
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James Eaton

Trent Valley Crew
Hi Mehd,

You may well have yourself a Javan Hawk Eagle here. I do not think it is a Crested Serpent Eagle because of the tail pattern - the base of the tail feathers are white, with a distinct inner band. On the secondaries there are 2-3 bands, without a thick outer edge. Juveniles would appear much lighter in colour on the body.

Oriental Honey Buzzard is the most likely confusion species, however, once again, secondaries appear to have an extra bar than is expected. But due to how variable this species is, I wouldn't rule out this species.

This photo shows a bird with a similar wing pattern. Also you mention the bird is huge, Javan Hawk Eagles do appear huge in flight.

I stand to be corrected though, I wouldn't like to make a positive id from this photo though, did you see what colour the coverts were on the underwing? If they appeared a deep rufous, then I would suspect that this bird is a Javan Hawk Eagle


Registered User
You may be right. This is a tough angle to make a definitive from. I would have expected the retrices to have white tips if it were to have been a Spilornis, but I have noticed that both the retrices and the trailing wing edges appear to be extremely worn. Do you happen to know anything in re the number of transverse tail bars visible on the undertail in the Spizaetus?

James Eaton

Trent Valley Crew
Hi Steve,

Unfortunately I don't know the number of transverse tail bars on Spizaetus. The field guides for Java aren't great for showing or explaining such detail, and I have no raptor books to hand! When I've seen this species in the field, such field marks aren't required as the wing pattern and shape are so distinctive.


Well-known member
Yes, look at the "Honey-buzzard head and bill" Funny though, it seems to have a male looking tail pattern, second bar wide, and a female looking wing pattern, thin looking trailing edge bar, and three bands inside of it, which by the way would fit orientalis female, which again, I suppose this one isn´t. The throat pattern is difficult to se, but isn´t there a dark throat band (gorget). It´s a difficult angle, you don´t get to see the wing formula, and shape of the bird.

this was one of my 'local' patches for a couple of years and i came across this problem several times.... I'll have a look at the pic then get it totally wrong for you....

there is a lot of mimicry of JHE going on in those parts...

I'd go for a juv OHB on tail banding, crescentic chest markings (not on JHE) and light bill and necky appearance. Wing barring seems okay and is extremely variable anyway. Around three widely spaced bars is okay and this seems to fit. JHE are huge powerful birds. I don't get that feel of this.

A lovely place, if a little crowded at times but with some stonking birds like Javan Cochoa and the endemic babblers... I did see rather a few OHBs mimicing JHE over there... very interesting to observe.


Well-known member
Thanks everybody for the help with the ID, I know that the shot doesn't show much but it's the only one I managed to get unfortunately.
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