Serpent Eagle

This Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) was sitting clamly on a branch in dense forest. A ray of sunlight was falling on its eye and beak giving it a majestic look.

The crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) is a medium-sized bird of preythat is found in forested habitats across tropical Asia. Within its widespread range across the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and East Asia. All members within the species complex have a large looking head with long feathers on the back of the head giving them a maned and crested appearance. The face is bare and yellow joining up with the ceres while the powerful feet are unfeathered and heavily scaled. They fly over the forest canopy on broad wings and tail have wide white and black bars. They call often with a loud, piercing and familiar three or two-note call. They often feed on snakes, giving them their name.

This medium-large, dark brown eagle is stocky, with rounded wings and a short tail. Its short black and white fan-shaped nuchal 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 perched the wing tips 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 feathersare black with broad white bars. Young birds show a lot of white on the head and have lighter feathers on the underside.

 

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