Malaysian Birds  -  Eagle


Worldwide - Hawks and Eagles comes under the broad family of Accipitrinae. In this family, there are 239 species, of  which 51 species can be seen in South east Asia.  These birds are known by a varieties of common names beside Eagles and Hawks, such as Sparrowhawks, Buzzards, Baza and Harriers. For the purpose of this page, I narrowed down and focus on birds which have selected name of "Eagle" attached to them. Here in Malaysia, we should be able to see 16 species each year. Why each year? Quite a few of them are migratory.


Eagles are generally larger than most birds of prey. They too, varies in size with the smallest being only 45 cm large. They possess exceptionally good eye sight, seeing prey up to 2 kilometres away. They are also known as Accipiters or Raptors with over 60 different species. Among the 4 main groups of Raptors, Eagles are rather big black birds and have their feet covered with feathers. Also on this page, there are 3 other groups of birds sharing the name Eagle


  1. Black Eagle  
  2. Booted Eagle  
  3. Greater Spotted Eagle  
  4. Imperial Eagle  
  5. Rufous-bellied Eagle  
  6. Steppe Eagle





The main difference between Hawk and Eagle is that Hawk are smaller and more agile birds. So Hawk-Eagle is actually a group of Eagle smaller than the regular Eagle, moving faster.

Hawk-Eagles prey on live mammals, birds and even small reptiles. Their strategy is to maintain a lookout perched bolt upright on a unobstructed bough at some high points. Various Hawk Eagles have their preferences, there are those seeking covers among the canopy foliage of high trees standing near a forest clearing. There they wait for small birds convenient to their reach and small animals coming out into the open. The bird then swoops down, makes the strikes, and carries the prey away in its talons.

But unfortunately their hunt were hardly witnessed, I suppose less dramatic when compared to the actions of others Raptors.




  1. Blyth's Hawk-Eagle  
  2. Changeable Hawk-Eagle  
  3.Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle  
  4. Wallace's Hawk-Eagle  




Fish-Eagle are larger Eagle and their main diet is Fish. They hand around tall trees near ponds or lake. Normally not nearby the ponds eedge but rather the highest point in the area. Capitalizing on their eye sight and better coverage. Here in Malaysia, the Fish-Eagles have field days without competition


  1. Gray-headed Fish Eagle  
  2. Lesser Fish Eagle  
  3. White-bellied Sea Eagle  


Serpent- Eagles

The name given to the following groups of "Eagle" denotes their habits, special skills and diet. Speaks for itself, the type of Eagles.
Serpent-Eagle are midsize Eagle preferring forest edge environment. Their preference for food? Crawlies on the forest food. Snake is preferred otherwise most time lizards.


  1. Crested Serpent-Eagle  
  2. Mountain Serpent-Eagle  
  3. Short-toes Snake-Eagle  


 Eagles are not easy to find, but in the right places and season, their presence in the area is obvious. So far, all those birds seen were perched in very open areas, very few birds and odd occasions. The low number of sightings  gives the impression that they are scare and if available would show up open vantage points. In reality, perhaps more Hawk Eagles preferred concealed perches and were not detected. Just like the way they hunt was hardly witnessed, there must be much more birds in the area and never accounted for.

Quite often in our birding trips, there were encounters with Eagles making a fly past and then landed among the canopy. Sadly, the spots where they perched were never located.

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