The Little Eagle is a medium-sized bird of prey that occurs in two colour forms: either pale brown with an obscure underwing pattern, or dark brown on the upper parts and pale underneath, with a rusty head and a distinctive underwing pattern of rufous leading edge, pale ‘M’ marking and black-barred wingtips. Both forms have a black-streaked head with a slight crest, a pale shoulder band on the upperwings, a rather short and square-tipped barred tail, and feathered legs.


The Little Eagle is found throughout the Australian mainland excepting the most densely forested parts of the Dividing Range escarpment. It occurs as a single population throughout NSW.

Habitat and ecology

  • Occupies open eucalypt forest, woodland or open woodland. Sheoak or Acacia woodlands and riparian woodlands of interior NSW are also used.
  • Nests in tall living trees within a remnant patch, where pairs build a large stick nest in winter.
  • Lays two or three eggs during spring, and young fledge in early summer.
  • Preys on birds, reptiles and mammals, occasionally adding large insects and carrion.
We acknowledge and thank the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage for the provision of threatened species information in this website.
Image by Aviceda – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
For more information:
NSW Office of Environment & Heritage