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Groups Eagles are often informally divided into four groups.Unknown extension tag "ref"<ref name=rutledge>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }} from {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

The snake eagles are placed in the subfamily Circaetinae. The fish eagles, booted eagles, and harpy eagles have traditionally been placed in the subfamily Buteoninae together with the buzzard-hawks (buteonine hawks) and harriers. Some authors may treat these groups as tribes of the Buteoninae; Lerner & Mindell<ref name=LM2005 /> proposed separating the eagle groups into their own subfamilies of Accipitridae.

Fish eagles

Sea eagles or fish eagles take fish as a large part of their diets, either fresh or as carrion.

Proposed subfamily Haliaeetinae. Genera: Haliaeetus, Ichthyophaga.

Some authors include Gypohierax angolensis, the "vulturine fish eagle" (also called the palm-nut vulture) in this group.<ref name=rutledge /> However, genetic analyses indicate it is related to a grouping of NeophronGypaetusEutriorchis (Egyptian vulture, bearded vulture (lammergeier), and Madagascan serpent eagle).<ref name=tol-acciptridae />

The fish eagles have a close genetic relationship with Haliastur and Milvus; the whole group is only distantly related to the Buteo group.<ref name=tol-acciptridae />

Booted eagles

{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} Booted eagles or "true eagles"<ref name=rutledge /><ref name=oiseaux-booted>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> have feathered tarsi (lower legs).

Tribe Aquililae or proposed subfamily Aquilinae. Genera: Aquila, Hieraaetus; Spizaetus, Oroaetus, Spizastur; Nisaetus;<ref name=tol-acciptridae>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Ictinaetus, Lophoaetus; Polemaetus; and Stephanoaetus.<ref name=rutledge /><ref name=oiseaux-booted />

See comments under eagle species for changes to the composition of these genera.

Snake eagles

Snake or serpent eagles are, as the name suggests, adapted to hunting reptiles.

  • Subfamily Circaetinae. Genera: Circaetus, Spilornis, Dryotriorchis, Terathopius.<ref name=rutledge />
  • Eutriorchis (subfamily Gypaetinae or Circaetinae).

Despite filling the niche of a snake eagle, genetic studies suggest that the Madagascan serpent eagle Eutriorchis is not related.<ref name=tol-acciptridae />

Harpy eagles

Harpy eagles<ref name=rutledge /> or "giant forest eagles"<ref name=aae /> are large eagles that inhabit tropical forests. The group contains two to six species, depending on the author. Although these birds occupy similar niches, and have traditionally been grouped together, they are not all related: the solitary eagles are related to the black-hawks, and the Philippine eagle to the snake eagles.

  • Harpy eagles (proposed subfamily Harpiinae)
    • Harpia harpyja, harpy eagle ― Central and South America.
    • Morphnus guianensis, crested eagle ― Central and South America.
    • Harpyopsis novaeguineae, Papuan eagle ― New Guinea.

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