1210. Ictinaetus malayensis.
The Black Eagle.
Falco malayensis, Reinw., Temm. Pl. Col. pl. 117 (1824). Aquila pernigra, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. v, p. 227 (1836). Heteropus perniger, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. xii, p. 127. Ictinaetus ovivorus, Jerdon, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 128 (1843). Nisaetus ovivorus, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xiii, p. 157 (1844). Ictinaetus malaiensis, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, p. 7; id. Cat. p. 28; lrby, Ibis, 1861, p. 221. Neopus malayensis, Horsf. M. Cat. i, p. 381; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 65; Beavan, P. Z. S. 1868, p. 396, pl. 34; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 187 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 257 ; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 253; Hume & Bourd. ibid. p. 355; Gurney, Ibis, 1877, p. 423; Hume Dav. S. F. vi, p. 11; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 198; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 47; Hume, Cat. no. 32; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 372; Davison, S. F. x, p. 335; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 190; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 145 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 9; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 31. Neopus malaccensis, C. H. T. Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 407.
Laknongbong,lepch ; Hugong, Bhotia; Adavi nalla gedda, Tel.
Coloration. Adult. Brownish black or black almost throughout; lores whitish ; tail-feathers, except near the tips, and inner webs of quills towards the base, with mottled bars of grey above and of white below; lower parts sometimes browner.
Young birds are browner, and some have the head more or less buff or pale tawny, especially on the sides; the feathers of the crown, hind-neck, and sides of neck, in some, with tawny terminal spots; and the feathers of the lower parts with long drops or broad median stripes of pale ochreous brown; in one specimen they are ochreous with black shaft-stripes and edges. These specimens, however, appear strangely rare : out of 20 Himalayan specimens in the British Museum only one has a spotted head and none are striated beneath, though one from the Nilgiris shows both markings. Probably the young are often similar to adults, or else the immature plumage is quickly lost.
Bill greenish horny, black at the tip; cere, gape, and feet deep yellow; irides dark brown (Jerdon).
Length of a male 27 ; tail 13; wing 21.5 : of a female—length 31; tail 14; wing 24; tarsus 3.0 ; bill from gape 2.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas as far west as Chamba, and along the Western Ghats as far as Cape Comorin; also in Ceylon; very rare in the peninsula away from the Sahyadri, though Jerdon says he saw this species in the Eastern Ghats and in Central India (? Bastar), and Ball thought he saw it in Chutia Nagpur. It is found in the ranges south of Assam, and is very rare in Burma, but is not met with in the Malay Peninsula and islands.
Habits, &c. The Black Eagle is usually seen on the wing, soaring over forests with a steady graceful flight, which both Jerdon and Hume compare to that of a Harrier. It lives largely on the young and eggs of birds, and was observed by Mr. Bourdillon to carry off nests and examine their contents. It also occasionally feeds on reptiles. The eggs were obtained by Hume from Kulu and Bashahr, and were said to have been taken early in January from nests on cliffs. They were greyish white, more or less speckled or blotched, and measured about 2.6 by 1.95. Three eggs were obtained in one nest.