African Hawk Eagle

© Shem Compion
African hawk eagle.


African hawk eagle (Aquila spilogaster)

African Hawk Eagle Description

The African hawk eagle is a medium to large eagle with a blackish upperpart. It is white below but heavily streaked with black, except on the legs. The trailing edge of the underwing is broadly black and there are large white ‘windows’ in the primaries. The underwing coverts are mostly black with a broad band of white spots.


The African hawk eagle mainly eats birds such as francolin or guinea fowl. They typically hunt from a perch from which they intercept their prey. This eagle also feeds on reptiles and small mammals such as mongooses and dassies.

African Hawk Eagle Breeding

African hawk eagles usually breed from May to July in South Africa. The nest, about 3 feet in diameter, is a large platform of sticks and twigs and lined with green leaves. It is build just below the canopy of a tall tree and sometimes on electricity pylons. Both parents incubate the eggs for a period of up to 44 days. Only 1 chick is reared, due to cainism (the older chick kills the younger).

Where they are found

The African hawk eagle is found south of the Sahara to just south of the Tropic of Capricorn in South Africa. They prefer woodland areas and are usually seen in hilly and rocky country. They avoid dense evergreen forests.