(Last Updated on : 14/09/2015)
Black Eagle is an Indian bird bearing the scientific name of "Ictinaetus malaiensis
" is a bird of prey. Like all eagles, it is in the family of Accipitridae and is the only member of the genus Ictinaetus.
Concentration of Black Eagle
Black Eagle soar over forests in the hilly regions of tropical Asia and hunt mammals and birds, particularly at their nests. They are easily identified by their widely splayed and long primary "fingers", the characteristic silhouette, slow flight and yellow ceres and legs that contrast with their dark feathers.
Breeding of Black Eagle
Black eagle breeds in tropical Asia. Black eagle is found in the Himalayan
foothills west through Nepal into north-eastern Murree in the forests of the Eastern Ghats Mountain Range in India
and Western Ghats Mountain Range in India
in peninsular India and Sri Lanka.
Residence of Black Eagle
Black Eagle also extends into the Aravalli Mountain Ranges
of north-western India. The nominate race malaiensis is found in Burma, southern China and Taiwan, into the Malay Peninsula. They are generally residents and no migrations have been observed.
Structure of Black Eagle
Black Eagle is a large raptor at of about 70-80 cm in length and 164-178 cm in wingspan, with a weight of between 1000 and 1600 grams. The adults have all-black plumage, with a yellow bill base 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 in flight.
Sexes of Black Eagle
The sexes of Black Eagle are similar, but young birds have a buff head, under parts and under wing coverts. The wing shape helps to distinguish this species from the dark form of crested hawk-eagle, (Spizaetus cirrhatus
). 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.
Prey of Black Eagle
Black Eagle eats mammals, birds and eggs. It is a prolific nest-predator and is known for its slow flight just over the canopy. Due to this eagle's ability to remain aloft for long periods with minimal effort, the Lepcha
people of India's Darjeeling district described it as a bird that never sat down. The curved claws and wide gape allow it to pick up eggs of birds from nests. Along with swallow-tailed kites they share the unique habit of carrying away an entire nest with nestlings to a feeding perch. Squirrels, macaques and many species of birds emit alarm calls when these birds are spotted soaring over the forest. The Indian giant squirrel has been noted as a prey of this species and young bonnet macaques may also fall prey to them.
Courtship of Black Eagle
The courtship of Black Eagle involves steep dives with folded wings with swoops up in a U shape into a vertical stall. Black Eagle builds a platform nest, 3 to 4 feet wide, on a tall tree overlooking a steep valley. One or two white eggs which are blotched in brown and mauve may be laid during the nesting season between January and April. The nest site may be reused year after year.