Aquila rapax 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Aquila rapax (Temminck, 1828)
Common Name(s):
English Tawny Eagle, Tawny Eagle and Steppe Eagle
French Aigle ravisseur
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Harding, M. & Ashpole, J
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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to 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.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
Algeria; Angola; Benin; Botswana; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea-Bissau; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kenya; Malawi; Mali; Mauritania; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Pakistan; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Bangladesh; Egypt; Gibraltar; Israel; Italy; Lesotho; Liberia; Oman; Sierra Leone; Thailand; Tunisia
Present - origin uncertain:
Djibouti; Guinea; Myanmar; Viet Nam
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:52700000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):3000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


Trend Justification:  In Africa the population is suspected to be decreasing. Declines have been reported from northern, western and southern Africa (Global Raptors Information Network 2015). In Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger the population outside protected areas decreased by over 87% between 1969-1973 and 2000-2004, declines were also found inside protected areas (Thiollay 2007). A similar pattern was found in Cameroon (Thiollay 2007). In the Masai Mara ecosystem, Kenya, the population decreased by 28% between 1976-1988 and 2003-2005 (Virani et al. 2011).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Behaviour The species is resident across the Afrotropical, Indomalayan and fringing Palearctic regions (34°N to 31°S) but occurs in discrete populations. It is common across its range, and generally sedentary, although individuals are nomadic and will occasionally wander long distances.  In West Africa individuals will make short distance seasonal movements south into the damper woodlands during October – November and return in April (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Habitat The species occupies dry open habitats from sea level to 3000m, and will occupy both woodland and wooded savannah.  In India it can be found near cultivated areas, settlements and slaughterhouses (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Diet The species has a wide prey base, taking mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and occasionally fish and amphibians.  It will also regularly consume carrion and pirate other raptors’ prey (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001). Breeding Site Nesting occurs on a large stick platform that may also incorporate animal bones, and is located on top of tall isolated trees or occasionally on top of a pylon. The breeding season in Africa spans March to August in the north, October to June in the West, April to January in central and southern areas, and year-round (but mainly May-November) in Kenya. In India the season spans November to August (Ferguson- Lees and Christie, 2001).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):16.6
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species has declined in the farmed areas of eastern and southern Africa, apparently as a result of consuming poisoned carcasses. In western and north-east Africa declines have been reported but the causes are not known. In general the species’s opportunistic behaviour suggests it is resistant to the usual threats (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001) although long term changes in rainfall patterns could affect the breeding success of the species in future (Wichmann et al. 2004). In South Africa it has been known to drown in farmland reservoirs (Anderson et al. 1999) and birds have been killed through collisions with power lines (Global Raptor Information Network 2015). Direct persecution and collisions with road vehicles when scavenging have also been identified as threats (Global Raptor Information Network 2015). Accidental poisoning has also been reported (Brown 1991).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Altered threats coding table. Edited Rationale text.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Aquila rapax (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22696033A119425859. . Downloaded on 22 May 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided