Philippine hawk-eagle -- 菲律宾鹰雕 (Spizaetus philippensis)

Philippine hawk-eagle
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Philippine hawk-eagle fact file

Philippine hawk-eagle description

GenusSpizaetus (1)

While only a medium-sized hawk-eagle, this inhabitant of the Philippines has a striking appearance due to its long crest of four or five feathers, up to seven centimetres long, protruding from its crown (4). The plumage on the upperparts is dark brown, and the dark brown tail is striped with four to five darker, narrow bands. The head and underparts are reddish-brown with black streaking, and the throat is whitish (4) (5). The wings are broad and rounded and barred flight feathers can be seen in flight (5). There are two subspecies of the Philippine hawk-eagle: S.p. philippensis and S.p. pinskeri. Some believe that due to genetic and morphological differences S.p. pinskeri should be upgraded to the species level, Pinsker’s hawk-eagle S. pinskeri (6), although this has not yet been fully accepted (1). S.p. philippensis is larger and darker below and has an unbarred reddish-brown lower belly. S.p. pinskeri is smaller, lighter below, and has a barred brown, black and white belly (4).

Aguila-azor Filipina.
Length: 64 – 69 cm (2)
1168 g (2)

Philippine hawk-eagle biology

Very little is known about the biology of the Philippine hawk-eagle, possibly due to its habit of perching in the canopy, concealed with foliage (4). However, it soars frequently, and its presence is often revealed by its distinctive two-note call given in flight or while perched (4). Whilst its diet has not been recorded, like other birds of prey it is likely to use its powerful, hooked bill and long, sharp talons to kill a variety of forest animals.


Philippine hawk-eagle range

Endemic to the Philippines, whereit has been recorded on at least 12 islands, including Luzon, Mindoro, Mindanao, Negros, Samar, Basilan, Bohol and Leyte (7).


Philippine hawk-eagle habitat

The Philippine hawk-eagle inhabits forest, from the lowlands up to montane mossy forest at 1,900 meters (2) (4). As well as primary forest it has been recorded in disturbed and selectively logged forest (7).


Philippine hawk-eagle status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Philippine hawk-eagle threats

Dependent on forests in which to forage and breed, the Philippine hawk-eagle is likely to be threatened by habitat destruction throughout its predominantly lowland range (7). Forest cover in the Philippines has been drastically reduced; for example, on Mindanao, only 29 percent of the forest cover remains, while on Bohol just six percent is still standing (8). These remnant forest patches continue to be cleared, with most remaining forests being leased to logging concessions or covered by mining applications, the acceptance of which would give companies the right to clear forests (8). The impact of habitat loss is being compounded by significant hunting and trapping pressure (7).


Philippine hawk-eagle conservation

The Philippine hawk-eagle is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that any international trade in this species should be carefully controlled in order to be compatible with its continued survival (3). However, more effective legislation is required to control hunting and trading within the Philippines (5). In addition, while the Philippine hawk-eagle has been recorded from numerous protected areas, the degree of protection these sites actually afford is unclear and there may be further important sites, the protection of which would greatly benefit this magnificent bird of prey (5).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

For further information on the Philippine hawk-eagle see:

  • BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:


A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Referring to the visible or measurable characteristics of an organism.
Primary forest
Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.


  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol.2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. CITES (September, 2007)
  4. Kennedy, R.S., Gonzales, P.C., Dickinson, E.C., Miranda Jr, H.C. and Fisher, T.H. (2000) A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  5. BirdLife International (October, 2007)
  6. Gamauf, A., Gjershaug, J.O., Rfv, N., Kvalfy, K. and Haring, E. (2005) Species or subspecies? The dilemma of taxonomic ranking of some South-east Asian hawk-eagles (genus Spizaetus). Bird Conservation International, 15: 99 - 117.
  7. BirdLife International. (2001) Threatened Birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
  8. BirdLife International. (2003) Saving Asia's Threatened Birds: a Guide for Government and Civil Society. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.

Image credit

Philippine hawk-eagle  
Philippine hawk-eagle

© Patricio Robles Gil / Auscape International

Auscape International
PO Box 1024,
Tel: (+61) 2 4885 2245
Fax: (+61) 2 4885 2715


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