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Published: 2017-01-09

Phylogeny and new taxonomy of the Booted Eagles (Accipitriformes: Aquilinae)

Joseph Moore Museum, Earlham College, 801 National Road West, Richmond IN 47374 USA.
National Marine Science Centre, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour NSW Australia
Natural History Museum Vienna, 1st Zoological Department - Ornithology, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria.
American Museum of Natural History and Biology Department, LIU Brooklyn, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11201 USA
Natural History Museum Vienna, Central Research Laboratories, Burgring 7, 1010 Vienna, Austria.
Collections Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 4210 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, MD 20746.
Joseph Moore Museum, Earlham College, 801 National Road West, Richmond IN 47374 USA.
Joseph Moore Museum, Earlham College, 801 National Road West, Richmond IN 47374 USA.
Climate Impacts Group, College of the Environment, University of Washington, Box 355674, Seattle, WA 98195-5672.
HUNT Research Centre, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Forskningsveien 2, 7600 Levanger.
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, 3101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, California 94720-3160 USA
Department of Integrative Biology and Michigan State Museum, East Lansing, MI 48824 USA. Email:, and Bird Group, The Natural History Museum-UK, Akeman Street, Tring HP23 6AP, UK
Trollafjæra 80, 7018 Trondheim.
Joseph Moore Museum, Earlham College, 801 National Road West, Richmond IN 47374 USA.
Heidelberg University, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 69120 Heidelberg Germany.
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, P.O. Box 5685 Sluppen, 7485 Trondheim Norway.
Aves Molecular phylogeny morphology Nisaetus Spizaetus Clanga Hieraaetus Aquila Oroaetus Spizastur Lophotriorchis


We present a phylogeny of all booted eagles (38 extant and one extinct species) based on analysis of published sequences from seven loci. We find molecular support for five major clades within the booted eagles: Nisaetus (10 species), Spizaetus (4 species), Clanga (3 species), Hieraaetus (6 species) and Aquila (11 species), requiring generic changes for 14 taxa. Additionally, we recommend that the Long-crested Eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis) and the Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis) remain in their monotypic genera, due to their distinctive morphology. We apply the recently resurrected genus Clanga for the spotted eagles (previously Aquila spp.) to resolve the paraphyly of the genus Aquila such that the clade including the Booted Eagle (H. pennatus), Little Eagle (H. morphnoides), Pygmy Eagle (H. weiskei), Ayres’s Eagle (H. ayresii) and Wahlberg’s Eagle (H. wahlbergi) can remain in the genus Hieraaetus. The Rufous-bellied Eagle should be retained in the genus Lophotriorchis. For consistency in English names, we recommend that the term “hawk-eagles” be used only for the species in the genera Nisaetus and Spizaetus. We suggest following new or modified English names: Cassin’s Eagle (Aquila africana), Bonaparte’s Eagle (A. spilogaster), Ayres’s Eagle (Hieraaetus ayresii), and Black-and-chestnut Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus isidori).



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