Nature conservation

Threatened species

Little Eagle (Hieraaetus morphnoides)

Saving our Species strategy

This species has been assigned to the Landscape species management stream under the Saving our Species (SoS) program.

Justification for allocation to this management stream

This species is distributed across relatively large areas and is subject to threatening processes that generally act at the landscape scale (e.g. habitat loss or degradation) rather than at distinct, defineable locations. Nesting sites may require specific management.

Conservation status

Management objectives

This SoS strategy aims to ensure that the species is secure in the wild in NSW and that its NSW geographic range is extended or maintained and maintain its conservation status under the BC Act.

Species sightings and management sites across NSW

The map below displays the species’ distribution in NSW, based upon the species’ geographic range, habitat distribution or area of occupancy (to as high a resolution as available data allow, using a range of data sources).

Information about the species’ habitat and ecology is available here.

The map may also display one or more management sites where management of important populations is underway. More information is available in the tables below.


The species occurs in the following IBRA (Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia) regions in NSW:

Australian Alps
Brigalow Belt South
Broken Hill Complex
Channel Country
Cobar Peneplain
Darling Riverine Plains
Mulga Lands
Murray Darling Depression
New England Tablelands
NSW North Coast
NSW South Western Slopes
Simpson Strzelecki Dunefields
South East Corner
South Eastern Highlands
South Eastern Queensland
Sydney Basin

Proportion of the species' distribution on reserve

10% of the species' distribution occurs on reserve (within NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service estate).

Critical actions for this species

The key threats to the viability of landscape-managed species are loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat, and widespread pervasive factors such as impacts of climate change and disease. Many of these threats are addressed by NSW planning, native vegetation, and biodiversity legislation, policy and programs including the offsets program (BioBanking, NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects), Biodiversity Certification, management of environmental water and reservation under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Threats to this species are outlined here.

The actions listed in the action toolbox are supplementary to NSW legislation, policy and programs and can be used by stakeholders, where applicable to guide management at a site, regional or state scale.

Action toolbox

Action DescriptionScale
Raise awareness amongst land managers in areas where little eagles are known to occur of the risks of secondary poisoning as a result of the use of Pindone or second generation rodenticides. Encourage the use of alternative poisons (such as 1080 or coumatetralyl) and control techniques such as warren ripping. State
Protect and maintain high quality habitat, which consists of open forest and woodland with a mosaic of open and timbered areas, including wooded farmland, gallery forests and wooded floodplains along water courses and around wetlands. Riparian areas are particularly important. Where possible negotiate conservation agreements with landholders, agreements should preferably be funded and in perpetuity. Site, Area
Improve prey availability through restoration of degraded remnants, particularly riparian areas. Increase structural complexity and species diversity in the understorey through the control of invasive exotic plants, the removal of thick swards of exotic pasture grasses, management of grazing pressure and potentially augmentation planting with locally appropriate native species. Site, Area
Undertake revegetation, using a diverse mix of locally appropriate native species, and ensuring the creation of a mosaic of open and wooded areas. Revegetation should focus on expanding areas of existing small (less than 10ha) habitat patches, particularly riparian habitat, and creating wooded habitat patches around tall isolated trees. Site, Area
Increase the abundance of paddock trees, particularly large ones, by protecting existing trees, and supplementary planting or protection of natural regrowth. Area, Site

How will this species be managed?

Key management sites for this threatened species are being identified by the NSW Government and other program partners, where feasible, cost-effective and beneficial management actions can be undertaken. Currently, no management sites have been identified for this threatened species.

Are you or is someone you know doing conservation work for this species or in this area?

Contact us to tell us about the work. Your input will help OEH evaluate the status of threatened species and provide a broader picture of conservation work across NSW.