Little Eagle: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Amazing little eagle facts to make your day

The little eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides) is one of the smallest species of eagles that is found in the world. Native to Australia, they come in two major morphs. A pale morph and a dark morph. They have a stocky build, feathered legs, and broad wings. The primary diet includes rabbits, fish, birds, insects, and reptiles, although, they have been known to include carrion in their menu occasionally as well. Like most eagles, they find their prey while sitting on perches and then swoop down to the forest ground to catch them. If you compare it with the common golden eagle, you would realize how small they are. A golden eagle by comparison is only 33-38 in (83-96 cm) in length. Want to know more about the little eagle? We suggest you keep reading on.

For more relatable content, check out these martial eagle facts and bateleur eagle facts for kids.

Little eagle

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Rabbits, Insects, Birds, Fish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.97-1.8 lb (440-815 g)

How long are they?

17.7-21.6 in (45-55 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Red, Dark Brown, Black, Gray

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Habitat Loss

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Forest, Arid Plains







Scientific Name

Hieraaetus morphnoides





Little Eagle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a little eagle?

As evident by their name, the little eagle is a species of eagles called as such because of their small size. These birds are known to be found around Australia in open woodland areas, forest regions with dense trees, and arid surroundings.

What class of animal does a little eagle belong to?

Like all eagles, the little eagles belong to the class Aves and to the family Accipitridae. They are thought to be one of the smallest eagles in the world.

How many little eagles are there in the world?

They are listed as a species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, however, the population of this species is decreasing. Thankfully this declination process is quite slow and conservation groups have been working hard to stabilize their population across their habitat. There are about 10000-100000 little eagles left in the wild.

Where does a little eagle live?

This species is known to build its nest in open woodland areas throughout Australia. They are endemic to Australia. Little eagles nest in mature living trees along tree-lined watercourses and they spend most of their time sitting on exposed perch or soaring. They find their prey from the exposed perch and swoop down to the forest ground to catch them. Their primary diet consists of small mammals, such as rabbits and insects.

What is a little eagle's habitat?

They are known to prefer open woodland areas, forest regions filled with dense trees, tree-lined watercourses as well as arid regions as their habitat. Little eagles nest in mature living trees where they spend most of their time sitting on exposed perch or soaring. The nest is typically made of roots, small branches, and leaves and shaped like an open bowl. However, little eagles are partly migratory or dispersive.

Who do little eagle lives with?

They are known for being mostly solitary. Although, during the breeding season they can be found living in pairs as well as with their offspring.

How long does a little eagle live?

Little eagles are the smallest of all known eagle species, and they have an equally short lifespan. They are known to live only for about 10-12 years in the wild, which is considerably lower than most birds of prey.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of this Australian bird lasts from March to September in the northern part of their native habitat, while the birds in the south are known for breeding from August to October. These birds are known to engage in courtship displays that consist of calling and soaring towards the female eagles. These birds are known to breed annually, and about one to three eggs are laid per pregnancy. The females incubate the eggs for about 33-41 days without leaving the nest. Males are responsible for bringing food during this time and also for incubating the eggs while the female eats the food brought for them. The young are born vulnerable and depend completely on their parents to care for them for about two months before they are independent and can hunt for prey on their own.

What is their conservation status?

The little eagle is listed as a species of least concern in the IUCN red list. However, their numbers are declining due to habitat destruction and pesticides ingested from their prey. Thankfully, this decline is slow which gives us hope that there is time enough to stabilize their population soon.

Little Eagle Fun Facts

What do little eagles look like?

Interesting little eagle facts to amaze you.

This native Australian bird has two main morphs, one a light or pale, and the other a dark morph, both their bodies are stocky. The pale or light morphs have a brown upper part with light-colored undersides, while the dark morphs have dark brown upper parts with light brown undersides. These birds have a dark streak and crest on their head and black barrings on the tips of their wings. The flight feathers on the wings have a gray banding which can also be found on the coverts of the wings. These birds have feathered legs and barring on their tail. Another eagle that looks interesting is the harpy eagle.

How cute are they?

The little eagle is quite cute pale or light brown underside, a darker upper side, barred flight feathers, and feathered legs. They are native to both south and northern part of Australia.

How do they communicate?

These native birds of Australia are known to communicate through their calls and body gestures. They attract mates during the breeding season by calling out and swooping towards them.

How big is a little eagle?

These native birds of Australia are very small, only ranging at about 17.7-21.6 in (45-55 cm). The little eagle's size is about the same as a red-tailed hawk.

How fast can a little eagle fly?

It is hard to determine the little eagle's flying speed, however, they have broad wings, so it can be assumed that they can fly quite fast.

How much does a little eagle weigh?

This native bird of Australia is very small, as a result, they also weigh little. They only weigh about 0.97-1.8 lb (440-815 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Eagles do not have sex-specific names, and that is true for the little eagle species as well. Mature adults of both sexes have a stocky build, broad, barred wings, feathered legs, a crest on their heads, and a barred tail.

What would you call a baby little eagle?

The babies of these birds are called eaglets, or young eagles. They are born vulnerable and depend on the female eagles to care for them once they are hatched. The males are mostly responsible for bringing food to the nest to feed the female and the young. They also incubate the eggs when the female eats the food brought for it by the male.

What do they eat?

Although these birds mostly prefer live prey, they have been known to include carrion in their diet as well. Their primary diet consists of small mammals, like rabbits, as well as fish, reptiles, birds, and insects. This bird is known to find prey while sitting on perches and then swooping down to the forest ground to catch its prey. Rabbits make up more of their diet than other woodland animals in Australia.

Are they dangerous?

Like the crowned eagle or other birds of prey, the little eagle also possesses a certain danger, mostly because of its unpredictable nature. However, they are small in size, so the danger is also small.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though they are small, it is not recommended to keep them as pets. Mostly because of their unpredictable nature. They are wild birds and need a lot of space to fly around their territories which you will not be able to provide in a home setting.

Did you know...

Although the females are known for incubating the eggs during the breeding season, the males also incubate the eggs while the female eats the food that the male brings during this time.

What is the smallest eagle?

The smallest eagle species in the world is the South Nicobar serpent eagle, and it is found around the woodland areas of the islands of the Philippines.

Where do eagles sleep at night?

Eagles are diurnal birds and sleep in their nests at night. The little eagles build their nest in mature living trees along tree-lined watercourses and spend their nights on the nests made of roots, small branches, and leaves.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including frigate bird facts and bowerbird facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable little eagle coloring pages.



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