Changeable Hawk-Eagle

Scientific Name: Nisaetus cirrhatus

Malay Name: Helang-Hindik Biasa

Chinese Name: 凤头鹰雕

Range: Resident from the Indian subcontinent through Sundaic southeast Asia, as well as some islands in the Philippines.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: limnaeetus, cirrhatus, ceylanensis, andamanensis, vanheurni.

Local Subspecies: limnaeetus

Size: 61-75 cm

Identification: Comes in a dark and pale morph. The latter has dark streaks on its underparts with strongly marked underwings. Juvenile dark morphs are typically similar to adults, while juvenile pale morphs can be told apart by their very plain white underparts. Often confused with Crested Honey Buzzard, from which it can be told apart by its proportionally bigger head, rounder wings, shorter tail and feathered tarsus (if visible).

Similar looking species: Crested Honey Buzzard, Jerdon's Baza, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Eastern Buzzard, Common Buzzard

Habitat: Woodland.

Behaviour/Ecology: Frequently heard in various wooded area across Singapore, but beware as some of the sounds heard might turn out to be vocal mimicry by the Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. Previously rare in Singapore but population size has increased tremendously.

Local Status: Common resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2020)

Location: Found across many wooded area across Singapore. Even able to tolerate degraded habitat such as regenerating forest patches in Tuas as long as tall trees (such as Albizia) are available for nesting.


BirdLife International. (2020). Nisaetus cirrhatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.