Mountain hawk eagle
Common name Mountain hawk eagle
Scientific name Spizaetus nipalensis
Range The Mountain hawk eagle is distributed from the foothills of the Himalayas east through China and south through Japan and Taiwan.
Habitat The Mountain hawk eagle is found in coniferous or mixed forests from 1000 to 3500 meters in elevation.
Diet in the wild The Mountain hawk eagle feeds on wild rabbits, squirrels and partridges
Diet in the zoo This raptor's diet in the zoo consists of white field mice
Status The Japanese Mountain Hawk Eagle is considered an endangered species
Location in the zoo Raptor Canyon
Physical Description:

The mountain hawk eagle has dark brown feathers on the head and body with a light cinnamon feathers on the breast. Beaks are most often black as are their claws. They have yellow eyes. They are usually between 24 to 28 inches in length, although Japanese mountain hawks are larger (28 to 31 inches).

General Information and Behavioral Adaptations:

The mountain hawk eagle is one of the most voracious raptors in the world. They sit upon a concealed perch high in the forrest to observe the unsuspecting ground quarry, then move down to a lower branch to make a short and fast swoop. Their nests are within the deep confines of forests throughout Asia.  Most mountain hawk eagle lay three eggs, and defend the young throughout the development into adults.

Special Adaptations
On rare occasions the nests can be found in villages, with access to chicken yards close by. In fact, these raptors frequently use two nests--one for traditional puroposes, rearing young, and the other as a roost and feeding post.
Personal Observations:

I gazed up at the stately Japanese Mountain Hawk Eagle at the Fort Worth Zoo, who was surveying the domain from a roost so high that I got the same sensation as gazing up at a sky-scraper. A trainer casually tossed some white mice on the floor of the cage, and I thought that I had come at an opportune time, to see the raptor swoop down and grasp its prey. Much to my dissapointment, the hawk eagle just continued its surveyance, with its back turned to me no less. The raptor gazed down at its food below, with a look of disconcernment. I felt that it was in effect saying, "Give me a real challenge." The mountain hawk eagle, venerated by the Japanese, does not look at home to me.

Information sources and links:
Birds of Prey of the World, by Mary Louise Grossman and John Hamlet, USA, 1964 pages 305-306.
Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World, by Charles Sibley and Burt Monroe, Jr., Yale University Press, 1990, page 19.
Mountain hawk society of Hiroshima, profile page
Links to raptors

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