AppearanceThe Black Eagle is a large raptor at about 70–80 cm in length. Adults have all-black plumage, with a yellow bill base and feet. The wings are long and pinched in at the innermost primaries giving a distinctive shape. The tail shows faint barring and upper tail covers paler. When perched the wing tips reach till or exceed the tail tip. The wings are held in a shallow V in flight. Seen on hot afternoons, scouring the treetops for a nest to maraud, this bird is easily spotted by its jet black colour, large size, and a 'characteristic' slow flight, sometimes just above the canopy.
Sexes are similar, but young birds have a buff head, underparts and underwing coverts.
The wing shape helps to distinguish this species from the dark form of Crested Hawk-Eagle, . The tarsi are fully feathered and the toes are relatively stout and short with long claws that are less strongly curved than in other birds of prey.
DistributionThe Black Eagle breeds in tropical Asia. Race ''perniger'' is found in the Himalayan foothills west through Nepal into northeastern Murree in the forests of the Eastern and Western Ghats in peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The species also extends into the Aravalli range of northwestern India. The nominate race ''malayensis'' is found in Burma, southern China and Taiwan, into the Malay Peninsula. They are generally residents and no migrations have been observed.
In a study in southern India, it was found to favour forests with good forest cover and was absent from areas where the cover was less than 50%.
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