Ayres's Hawk-Eagle | Aquila ayresii

Ayres Hawk Eagle Birding Information by Robert's

The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Ayres's Hawk-Eagle (Latin name Aquila ayresii) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Aquila ayresii can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 138 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 534. You will find a picture of the Ayres's Hawk-Eagle on page 496.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Ayres' Eagle in the Roberts 6th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Hieraaetus ayresii in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle is known in Afrikaans as Kleinjagarend.

The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle has a height of 55 cms and weighs around 655 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. The Aquila ayresii has a white, black coloured throat, white legs and a brown, black coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is black.

Legs are white.

Throat is white, black.

Back is brown, black.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Ayres Hawk Eagle Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

The Aquila ayresii attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle eats the eggs of its victim.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Ayres Hawk Eagle Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Ayres's Hawk-Eagle is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.