Spizaetus cirrhatus

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Spizaetus cirrhatus, Crested Hawk-eagle, Elang Brontok

The CreSpizaetus-cirrhatus, Crested Hawk-eagle, Elang Brontoksted Hawk-eagle or Changeable Hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus), is a bird of prey of the family Accipitridae. They were formerly placed in the genus Spizaetus but studies pointed to the group being paraphyletic resulting in the Old World members being placed in Nisaetus (Hodgson, 1836) and separated from the New World species.

Changeable Hawk Eagles breed in southern Asia in India and Sri Lanka and from the SE rim of the Himalaya across Southeast Asia to Indonesia and the Philippines. This is a bird occurring singly (outside mating season) in open woodland, although island forms prefer a higher tree density. It builds a stick nest in a tree and lays a single egg.

The Crested Hawk-eagle is a medium-large raptor at about 60-72cm in length. It is a relatively slender forest eagle with some subspecies (especially limnaetus) being dimorphic giving the name of “Changeable”. This, and also a complicated phylogeny further complicates precise identification.

Normally brown above; white below with barring on the undersides of the flight feathers and tail; black longitudinal streaks on throat and chocolate streaks on breast. Some subspecies have a crest of four feathers, but this is all but absent in others. Sexes alike; female larger, and young birds are often whiter-headed and less patterned.

The wings are long and parallel-sided, and are held flat in flight, which helps to distinguish this species from the similar Mountain Hawk Eagle. In overhead flight, comparatively rounded wings (upturned at tip), longish tail, white body (spotted with brown) and grey underside of wings (streaked and spotted) are leading pointers.

Call: A loud, high-pitched ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-ki-kee, beginning short, rising in crescendo and ending in a scream.

Ecology

Changeable Hawk Eagles eat mammals, birds and reptiles. They like to keep a sharp lookout perched bolt upright on a bough amongst the canopy foliage of some high tree standing near a forest clearing (see photos). There they wait for junglefowl, pheasants, hares and other small animals coming out into the open. The bird then swoops down forcefully, strikes, and bears the prey away in its talons (Ali & Daniel1983).

Nesting

* Season: December to April.
* Nest: a large stick platform lined with green leaves, high up in a forest tree.
* Eggs: a single one, greyish white, unmarked or with faint specks and blotches of light reddish at the broad end.

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