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Wahlberg's Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Taxonomic note
Hieraaetus wahlbergi (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Aquila.

Aquila wahlbergi Sundevall, 1851

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger the population decreased slightly within protected areas between 1969-1973 and 2000-2004 and was not found at all during the 2000-2004 counts outside protected areas (Thiollay 2007). Possible declines have been reported from several countries in southern Africa however a general population decline has not been detected (Global Raptor Information Network 2015).


Behaviour This is an Afrotropical species (18°N to 30°S), distributed throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa except the Horn of Africa and southernmost Africa. It is a long distance migrant, moving south in July - September and north in February - March. It is reasonably common where it occurs and is locally abundant whilst on migration, arriving in large numbers in relation to seasonal food abundance. The Uganda passage area may observe over 1000 individuals on migration in March and in July-August (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Habitat It can be found in woodlands from sea level to 2800m, including wooded savannas, riparian woodland and cultivated areas, ideally where there is a mosaic of open and wooded areas and medium levels of rainfall (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Diet The species has a wide prey base, predating mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Breeding Site Nests are up to 80cm in diameter and built from sticks in the upper fork of a tall tree. Breeding in most of its range is during September to February, although in West Africa it is during the June to November period (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).

In some areas the species may be affected by accidental poisoning, human disturbance or woodland clearance, but there is no evidence to suggest this is affecting the population (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson- Lees and Christie 2001).

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D.A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

Global Raptor Information Network. 2015. Species account: Wahlberg's Eagle Aquila wahlbergi. Available at: (Accessed: 03/07/2015).

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Thiollay, J.-M. 2007. Raptor population decline in West Africa. Ostrich 78(2): 405-413.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M. & Ashpole, J

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Hieraaetus wahlbergi. Downloaded from on 27/11/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/11/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Wahlberg’s eagle (Aquila wahlbergi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author Sundevall, 1851
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 12,600,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change