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Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle

The Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) is a medium-sized bird of prey that is found in forested habitats across tropical Asia. These species have a large looking head with feathers on their head giving them a maned and crested appearance. The face is bare and yellow joining up with the ceres and powerful feet are unfeathered and heavily scaled. They forage over the forest canopy with their wings and tail showing broad white and black bars and often call with a piercing and familiar three or two-note call. They often feed on snakes, giving them their name.

This large, dark brown eagle is stocky, with rounded wings and a short tail. Its short black and white fan-shaped crest gives it a thick-necked appearance. The bare facial skin and feet are yellow. The underside is spotted with white and yellowish-brown. When the wing tips perched do not reach until the tail tip. In soaring flight, the broad and paddle-shaped wings are held in a shallow V. The tail and underside of the flight feathers are black with broad white bars. Young birds show a lot of white on the head.

The Crested Serpent-eagle, as its English name suggests, is a specialist reptile eater which hunts over woodland, often close to water, for snakes and lizards. It is found mainly over areas with thick vegetation both on the low hills and the plains. This species is a resident species, but in some parts of their range they are found only in summer. The call is a distinctive Kluee-wip-wip with the first note being high and rising. They call a lot in the late mornings from their perches where they spend a lot of time and they rise on thermals in the mornings. They will sometimes follow snakes on the ground. The breeding season is mainly in winter to spring. The nest is a large platform built high on a tree. In central India, the Terminalia tomentosa is often used. The nests are lined with green leaves from the tree on which it is placed. The usual clutch is one egg but two are sometimes laid and only a single chick is successfully raised in a season. Nests are defended by the parents.

This picture was taken in Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Dec 2010 one afternoon as we stopped for our afternoon meal and this raftor flew in front of us and perched in the open as if was posing for us...

Disclamer: This photograph is taken in the natural habitat. Incase if anybody needs the copy of this picture, please contact me. © All Rights Reserved by Yogesh Rane (www.junglebook.co.in / www.yogeshrane.com)

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 RSS  Disclaimer : This photograph is taken in the natural habitat. Incase if anybody needs the copy of this picture, please contact me. All Rights Reserved by Yogesh Rane (www.junglebook.co.in / www.yogeshrane.com)