Tawny Eagle


Tawny Eagle

Scientific Name:  Aquila rapax

Tawny Eagle image

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Bird Type:  Birds of Prey    315  Views


Tawny Eagle is similar to Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis), but smaller and paler. There are individual variations in plumage colours and dimensions of spots and marks.
Adult has variable colour on body and head. In South Africa, most of Tawny Eagles are reddish-brown; some of them are dark brown, with variably streaked dark underparts. Upper great coverts and flight feathers are brown, contrasting with rufous plumage. Tail is long and slightly rounded. Flight feathers lower edges are greyish, finely barred with dark brown. We can see a white pattern under primaries. Bill is dark grey and yellow, commissures are yellow, extending until middle-eye level. Eyes are yellow-amber. Legs are covered with reddish-brown feathers, talons are yellow.
Female is generally darker, and much more speckled than male.
Juvenile is duller, especially on belly, and its plumage is faded and pale, often reddish.


  • 63-71 cm

  • 25-28 Inch

  • gray

  • black  (Bird may have more colors)
  •    তামাটে ঈগল, খয়েরি ঈগল
  •    દેશી જુમ્મસ
  •    ಕಂದು ಗಿಡುಗ
  •    पिंगट गरुड, सुपर्ण
  •    राग महाचील
  •    மஞ்சட்பழுப்புக் கழுகு

The tawny eagle inhabits open woodlands and open drylands such as desert, semi-desert, steppes, savannas and plains. They are also found near cultivated lands, settlements and slaughterhouses.


Tawny Eagle feeds on all kinds of carrion, usually fresh, often killed by other raptors. It also consumes small mammals as rabbits, small and medium-sized rodents, lizards and snakes. Crickets, grasshoppers and flying termites are eaten, according to the season. They also feed on birds of guinea-fowl’s size, injured or sick individuals.
They also may steal food to other raptors, smaller or larger than them. Tawny Eagle kills its own prey on the ground.


Tawny Eagle is usually silent, except during courtship displays or when attacked. During breeding season, it gives a kind of repeated bark kowk, similar to corvidae’s call.


The tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) is a large, long-lived bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. It is estimated that tawny eagles can reach the age of 16 years old.

It breeds in most of Africa, both north and south of the Sahara Desert, and across tropical southwestern Asia to India. It is a resident breeder which lays one to three eggs in a stick nest in a tree, crag, or on the ground. Throughout its range, it favours open dry habitats such as semideserts, deserts steppes, or savannah plains.

This is a large eagle, although it is one of the smaller species in the genus Aquila. It is 60–75 cm (24–30 in) in length and has a wingspan of 159–190 cm (63–75 in). Weight can range from 1.6 to 3 kg (3.5 to 6.6 lb). It has tawny upper parts and blackish flight feathers and tail. The lower back is very pale. This species is smaller and paler than the steppe eagle, and it does not share that species' pale throat. Immature birds show less contrast than adults, but both show a range of variation in plumage colour.

The breeding season varies according to the range. In India the breeding season spans November to August. They build large nest on top of tall isolated trees with sticks and twigs. The nest has 1-3 eggs.


    Resident (inc. local and altitudinal migrants)
    Former range (no recent records but may still survive)
    Summer visitor (including summer monsoon)
    Winter visitor
    Passage (autumn and/or spring) visitor
    known to be occasional, scarce or erratic
    Small isolated population (actual range smaller)  
    Isolated record(s) - one or more in the same area  
 colour coded for seasonality as per coloured ranges, black denotes unspecified season