Black Eagle

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names


Native Habitat



Birds, Reptiles, Frogs


Black Eagle

Ictinaetus malaiensis

The black eagle breeds in tropical Asia. Race perniger is found in the Himalayan foothills west through Nepal into northeastern Murree in the forests of the Eastern and Western Ghats in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The species also extends into the Aravalli range of northwestern India.

The black eagle is a large raptor at about 70–80 cm in length and 164–178 cm in wingspan, with a weight of between 1000 and 1600 grams. Adults have all-black plumage, with a yellow bill base (cere) and feet. The wings are long and pinched in at the innermost primaries giving a distinctive shape. The tail shows faint barring and upper tail covers paler. When perched the wing tips reach till or exceed the tail tip. The wings are held in a shallow V (wings just above the horizontal plane) in flight. Seen on hot afternoons, scouring the treetops for a nest to maraud, this bird is easily spotted by its jet black colour, large size, and a 'characteristic' slow flight, sometimes just above the canopy.

Sexes are similar, but young birds have a buff head, underparts and underwing coverts. The wing shape helps to distinguish this species from the dark form of crested hawk-eagle. The tarsi are fully feathered and the toes are relatively stout and short with long claws (particularly on the inner toe) that are less strongly curved than in other birds of prey.

Regional Names
  • Gujarati:
    શ્યામ ગરુડ
  • Malayalam:
    കരിം പരുന്ത്
  • Marathi:
    काळा गरुड
  • Nepali:
    द्रोणक चील
  • Tamil:
  • Telugu:
    అడవి నల్ల గద్ద
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Ictinaetus malaiensis