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Crested serpent-eagle

Spilornis cheela

Photo by Bob Thompson (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
crested serpent-eagle (en); águia-cobreira-de-crista (pt); serpentaire bacha (fr); águila culebrera chiíla (es); schlangenweihe (de)

Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

This species is found in south-east Asia, from north-eastern Pakistan and India to southern China and Indonesia.

These birds are 55-76 cm long and have a wingspan of 110-170 cm. They weigh 0,4-1,8 kg.

The crested serpent-eagle is found in moist tropical forests and mangroves, dry savannas, estuaries, plantations and arable land, typically favouring forest edges. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They hunt primarily snakes, including poisonous ones, but also small mammals, monkeys and birds.

Crested serpent-eagles breed in December-August. They are monogamous and nest in a large stick nest, lined with small twigs and green leaves, and placed in a tall tree usually near a stream or other water body. The female lays 1-2 eggs, which she incubates alone for 35 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 2 months after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and as widespread and common, although locally uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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