What are the unusual features of the crested serpent eagle?

           The crested serpent eagle is a large bird of prey, which feed on snakes – this characteristic has given it its name.

          Its head is big, with a bare yellow face. The younger birds will have a whitish head. There is a waxy fleshy covering in front of the eyes, at the base of upper beak, called the ceres. The powerful feet are unfeathered and heavily scaled.

          It is found mainly over areas with thick vegetation both on the low hills and the plains. They hunt in pairs. Sometimes, they’ll fly very high in the air and sometimes, just skim over the leaf cover of trees, looking for small mammals and reptiles living on tree branches.

          They also make their nests atop trees. A study found that most nests were built along riverside trees. Both birds in a pair build the nest but the female alone incubates. The usual clutch is one egg. The young ones are always guarded by parents.

          Crested serpent eagles are very common in many regions of our country, but are not found in Northwest India. Within the tropical regions of Asia, there are 21 different subspecies of these birds.