Ictinaetus – Black eagle

Controller of arboreal birds and mammals populations in Asia's tropical forests

A striking bird of prey found predominantly in the forested regions of tropical Asia. Known for its distinctive silhouette and soaring flight, the black eagle is a specialized predator with unique adaptations to its forest environment. True to its name, its plumage is predominantly black, with some brownish or greyish tinge on the wings and body, and paler streaks on the throat and underparts. The eagle’s wings are long and broad, suited for efficient soaring and maneuverability through dense forest canopies. Its bright yellow eyes and cere give it a piercing gaze, characteristic of a formidable predator.

Black eagles are found throughout Southeast Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, and extend into parts of East Asia. They are primarily residents of dense hill and mountain forests, showing a strong preference for heavily wooded habitats up to an altitude of about 2,200 meters. Despite their large range, they are often seen as elusive due to their preference for high canopy levels and deep forests.

Unlike many eagles, the Black Eagle primarily preys on birds, particularly those nesting in the treetops, such as drongos, pigeons, and squirrels. They are also known to eat eggs and the young of other birds, making them formidable nest predators. Their hunting strategy involves soaring gracefully above the canopy or perching inconspicuously, waiting to make a swift and silent swoop on their prey.