Indian crested hawk-eagle

In the dense forests of India, a magnificent bird soars through the treetops, its sharp eyes scanning the surroundings for prey. This is the Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle, a majestic creature that commands attention with its striking appearance and powerful presence.

With its impressive crest of feathers atop its head and piercing yellow eyes, the Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle embodies strength and grace. Its wingspan can reach up to six feet, allowing it to glide effortlessly through the air and hunt with precision.

Serial NumberCharacteristicsDescription
1Common nameIndian crested hawk-eagle
2Scientific nameNisaetus cirrhatus
3ColourDark brown with a prominent crest on the head
4Average length60-72 cm
5Average height60-70 cm
6Type of birdBird of prey
7Found in India in statesFound throughout India
8HabitatForested areas and hilly terrain
9StatusLeast Concern 


The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle, also known as the Asian Crested Hawk-Eagle, is a large bird of prey that is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. 

The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle is a robust and muscular bird with a broad wingspan and a long tail. They have sharp talons that enable them to capture and hold onto prey. Their head is distinctive, with a prominent crest of feathers that stand upright and gives the bird its name. They have a hooked beak that is used for tearing and ripping apart prey.

The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle is a striking bird with predominantly brown plumage that is mottled with darker markings. They have a distinctive white throat and breasts, with a black band across their chest. Their wings and tail are dark brown with white bands, and their legs and feet are yellow.

The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle is a relatively large bird, with males typically measuring between 61-72 cm (24-28 inches) in length, and females measuring between 69-81 cm (27-32 inches) in length. They have a wingspan of around 150 cm (59 inches) and a weight of around 1.8-3.6 kg (4-8 lbs).

The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle is a long bird, with a tail that measures around 28-33 cm (11-13 inches) in length. Their wingspan is much larger than their body length, with the wings measuring around 120-160 cm (47-63 inches) in span.

Habitat and Food

The Indian crested hawk-eagle prefers to live in forested areas with tall trees that provide cover and perching sites. They can be found in tropical and subtropical evergreen and deciduous forests, as well as in hilly and mountainous regions. They are also known to inhabit agricultural lands and urban areas, but only if there is sufficient vegetation cover and prey availability.

The Indian crested hawk-eagle is a carnivorous bird that preys on a wide range of animals, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. They are opportunistic hunters and will take whatever prey is available in their habitat. However, their primary prey consists of medium-sized birds, such as pigeons, partridges, and doves.

These eagles hunt from a perch or in flight, using their keen eyesight to locate prey. They will swoop down from their perch or dive from the sky to catch their prey with their sharp talons. Once they have caught their prey, they will carry it to a perch or a tree branch to eat.

Nesting and Nurturing

The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle is a monogamous bird that typically builds its nest high up in the trees, often between 20-30 meters above the ground. They prefer to nest in mature forests, where there is ample tree cover and a high density of prey. The nest is usually made of sticks and lined with softer materials such as leaves, moss, or grass. They will often use the same nest for several years, adding to it and repairing it as necessary.

The Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle usually lays a single egg per breeding season. However, in some rare cases, they may lay two eggs. The eggs are usually laid in the months of December to April, depending on the location.

The eggs of the Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle are elliptical in shape and measure approximately 6.5 x 5 cm. The color of the eggshell is white, with blotches of reddish-brown or purple speckles that vary in density and size.

The eggs of the Indian Crested Hawk-Eagle take approximately 40-45 days to hatch. During this period, the male and female will take turns incubating the egg, with each parent incubating for several hours at a time.

Once the egg hatches, both parents will take turns feeding and caring for the chick. The chick is born helpless and covered in white down feathers. The parents will provide food for the chick by hunting and bringing prey back to the nest. The chick will fledge at around 70-80 days old, but it will continue to rely on its parents for food and care for several more weeks until it becomes fully independent.

IUCN Status

Indian crested hawk-eagle (Nisaetus cirrhatus) is currently classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. The species has a large range and a stable population trend, and although there are localized declines in some areas due to habitat loss and fragmentation, these do not currently meet the criteria for a higher risk category. However, ongoing monitoring and conservation efforts are still important to ensure the continued survival of the species.

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