Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Bonelli's eagle

In Thai: นกอินทรีแถบปีกดำ, nok in-sree thaep peek dam

Binomial name: Aquila fasciata, Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, 1822

The Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata) is a large bird of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae.

It breeds in southern Europe, Africa both north and south of the Sahara Desert and across the Middle East and South Asia to Indonesia. It is usually a resident breeder which lays 1–3 eggs in a tree or crag nest.

The Bonelli's eagle is found in wooded, often hilly, country with some open areas. The African race prefers savannah, forest edges, cultivation, and scrub, provided there are some large trees; this is not a species of very open or densely forested habitats.

Recent DNA research resulted in this species being moved to the genus Aquila from Hieraaetus.

The common name of the bird commemorates the Italian ornithologist and collector Franco Andrea Bonelli.


This is a small- to medium-sized eagle at 55 – 65 cm in length. The upperparts are dark brown, and the underside is white with dark streaks. The wings are relatively short and rounded. The long tail is grey on top and white below and has a single broad black terminal band. The feet and eyes are yellow. Immature birds have deep buff underparts and underwing coverts, and have fine barring on the tail without the terminal band.

The Bonelli's eagle is usually silent except in display and near the nest. Its fluted klu-kluklu-kluee call is less shrill than that of its near relatives.


The Bonelli's eagle takes a wide range of live prey, all taken alive. It usually hunts from cover by a quick dash from inside a tree, but it will also catch prey by quartering hill slopes like other eagles, or make a stoop from a soaring position. Most prey is taken on the ground.

This eagle takes large prey items, usually mammals or birds. Mammals up to the size of a hare are regularly taken, and birds up to guineafowl size.

Conservation and rehabilitation

Bonelli's eagles will foster orphaned chicks of the same species in an empty nest, but only if egg or chick loss has happened a few hours earlier. Also they will foster chicks during the post-fledging dependence period, and this conservation strategy may be applicable to other raptor species provided that siblicide is not common in the host species.

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Scientific classification

Aquila fasciata

Common names

  • Thai: นกอินทรีแถบปีกดำ, nok in-sree thaep peek dam


  • Aquila fasciatus
  • Hieraaetus fasciatus

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range Map

Distribution map of Bonelli's eagle, Aquila fasciata in Thailand
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
Range map of Aquila fasciata in Thailand