Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
The Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) is a medium-sized bird of prey belonging to the family Accipitridae. It is found throughout much of South and Southeast Asia, including India, Thailand, and Malaysia. The Crested Serpent Eagle inhabits a range of forested habitats, including both deciduous and evergreen forests, as well as urban parks and gardens, where it feeds on a variety of prey, including reptiles, birds, and mammals.
The Crested Serpent Eagle measures around 55-75 centimeters (22-30 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 115-145 centimeters (45-57 inches). It has a distinctive, dark brown plumage with a distinctive crest of feathers on its head. The bird has a sharp, hooked beak and powerful talons, which it uses to catch and kill prey.
The Crested Serpent Eagle feeds primarily on reptiles, such as snakes and lizards, as well as birds and small mammals. The bird is known for its ability to catch and kill venomous snakes, which it is able to do without being affected by their toxic bites.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
The breeding season for the Crested Serpent Eagle typically occurs between December and May, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form pair bonds that can last for several breeding seasons. They build a large, stick nest in a tree, which they line with leaves and other soft materials.
The female lays 1 to 2 eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 38-45 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they are able to leave the nest, which typically occurs at around 70-80 days old. The young birds become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging.
The Crested Serpent Eagle is currently listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. However, the bird could face potential threats from habitat loss due to deforestation, urbanization, and other human activities. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation, monitoring populations, and reducing disturbances to nesting sites to ensure the long-term survival of the species.