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Mountain Hawk-Eagle - BirdForum Opus

Posture and detail of face, tarsi and underbody
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Nainital, Uttarakhand Himalayas, Altitude 6500 feet above msl, India
6 November 2012

Alternative name: Hodgson's Hawk-Eagle

Nisaetus nipalensis

Spizaetus nipalensis

Photo by Peter Ericsson
Picture taken at Khao Yai National Park, Thailand.


Large hawk-eagle at 66–84 cm

  • Brownish above
  • Crest size varies geographically
  • Barred below
  • Wings relatively short
  • Tail long, with bars of even size
  • Eyes yellow to orange

Juveniles paler, almost all-white below

Similar species

Changeable Hawk Eagle (see references)


Asia: India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan.

Adult mobbed by Large-billed Crows
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Hill Station Ranikhet, Alt. 6500 ft., Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, 7 October 2021


Legge's Hawk-Eagle was formerly considered conspecific.
Like the other Asian Hawk-Eagles this species was formerly placed in genus Spizaetus.


Two subspecies are recognized[1].

  • N. n. nipalensis:
  • N. n. orientalis:


Forest and woodland along streams.


Mostly resident but seems to be an elevational migrant and may also go south to some extent.

Feeds on smaller mammals up to the size of hares and Japanese macaques, as well as birds up to the similar size.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2022. IOC World Bird List (v 12.2) DRAFT. Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.12.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Gjershaug et al. 2008: An overlooked threatened species of eagle: Legge’s Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus kelaarti (Aves: Accipitriformes) Zootaxa 1792: 54–66
  4. Birdforum thread discussing identification of this species

Recommended Citation

External Links

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