Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle is a bird of prey in the family of Accipitridae that is found in the forested regions of tropical Asia. Relatively small for eagles and contrastingly patterned like a falcon, this species was earlier placed in the genus Hieraaetus and sometimes also in the genus Aquila but thought to be distinctive enough to belong to a separate genus.
Structure of Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle
The adult Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagles are distinctive in their pattern. Rufous-bellied hawk-eagles have a black hood with a short crest. They have Chestnut under parts and wing of Rufous-bellied hawk-eagle coverts contrast with the white on the throat and breast. The sexes of Rufous-bellied hawk-eagle are almost indistinguishable in plumage but females are slightly larger and have more black on the face. Rufous-bellied hawk-eagle perch in a very upright stance and the wingtip almost reaches the tail. The tarsus is fully feathered. Juveniles have very white under parts with dark markings on the sides of the body, head mask and edge of under wing coverts. They can appear similar to a booted eagle (Aquila pennata). In flight, the under wing lining is dark and the greater coverts are black. The flight feathers are thinly barred with a black edge. The tail is dark and barred.
Description of Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle
Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle was originally described as Astur kienerii on the basis of a specimen from the Himalayan Mountain Range. The two subspecies of Rufous-bellied hawk-eagle are recognized although there is no marked plumage difference.
Concentration of Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle
Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle is associated mainly with hill forests. In India, they are commoner in the Western Ghats Mountain Range in India than along the Himalayan Mountain Range where they inhabit from Nepal to Assam. Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle also occurs in parts of the Eastern Ghats Mountain Range in India. Their distribution range includes Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Hainan, Indonesia, Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines, Sulawesi and Sumbawa.
Flight of Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle
Rufous-bellied hawk-eagles are usually seen in flight, soaring high over the forest canopy. They dive to capture prey that can include birds and mammals in the air, canopy, or forest floor. Birds of the size of Sri Lanka wood pigeon, Kalij pheasant and jungle fowl have been recorded as prey.
Breeding Season of Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle
The breeding season of Rufous-Bellied Hawk-Eagle is in winter with the young fledging in spring when the prey species are also breeding. The display flight involves stooping and wing-quivering.