Wahlberg's Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi


Justification of Red List category
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.

Population justification
The most common eagle in South and Central Africa (Kemp and Kirwan 2020). Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) place the total population at 100,000-1,000,000 individuals, roughly equating to 67,000-670,000 mature individuals.

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; Kemp and Kirwan 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation actions underway
CITES Appendix II, CMS Appendix II, Raptors MOU Category 3.


Text account compilers
Haskell, L.

Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Harding, M. & Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Hieraaetus wahlbergi. Downloaded from on 23/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/09/2023.