Crested Hawk Eagle – Jewel of Canopy


Crested Hawk Eagles are magnificent raptors found hoovering around the canopies of Southern Asia, Indonesia, Andaman’s, Borneo and Philippines. They have two to three elongated feathers on the head which resembles a crown that provides a majestic look. The elongated feathers grow up to 4 to 5 inches in length. These jewels of prey are scientifically known as Nisaetus cirrhatu. Categorized under the least concern category by IUCN measures up to 28 inches in length with a wingspan of 55 inches. Weighing between 1.2 to 1.9 kg with an equally flexible wingspan, they rule skies of the Asian canopy and are a classified subfamily of booted eagles.

Crested Hawk Eagle, also known as Changeable Hawk-eagle, prefers isolation other than at the mating phase and is found perched up on the high trees keeping a watch on its prey at all-time. Locking eyes on the prey, it descends with great velocity, hooks the targets and ascends back to the treetop for a feast. On the flight, they spread their wings wide and perpendicular to the body which distinguishes them from the Mountain Hawk Eagle. Under pigmentation, juveniles appear in white along the head and under-part. Adults exhibit solid brown white pointed black crest, heavy-brown-streaking from neck to belly and rufous-brown belly. The lifespan of hawk eagles is not been precisely identified to date.  

Species Complex

Species complex term is been provided owing to the variation in pigmentation found among this group of species. Several types of research carried out haven’t been successful in revealing the differences among the crested and related species. Dichotomy and DNA analysis ( mt-DNA cytochrome b & control region sequence) between the related species have also not been able to provide clarity in answering the variations among the crested and crestless group. Flores Hawk-Eagle and Crested Hawk eagles based on these researches have been classified as sister species. Now, Flores Hawk eagles are treated as an individual species. It is owing to the variation in color they are termed changeable hawks. Undertaking the phylogeny approach has also been unsuccessful in answering the taxonomy of wide-ranging changeable hawks.

These birds of prey are normally silent during isolation but readily making calls during the mating phase. The black barring’s present throughout the body acts as a camouflage. The sharp Kri-Kri and Yip-Yip scream calls could be heard up to a distance of 2 miles. They have powerful feathered legs with razor-sharp claws designed purely for hunting. They feed on birds, animals, and reptiles. The beaks are razor sharp and designed to tare flesh at ease. Once the prey is hunted, these eagles spread their wings masking the prey under their wings as an imprint and feed on it whole without sharing in isolation.


Changeable Hawk Eagles in some nations are used for falconry, in other words hunting. The changeable hawks are been bred in captivity by breeders to use them for hunting purposes. The newly bred chicks are handfed and trained according to human commands in order to domesticate them for personal pass time. It takes up to 60 days for a trainer to domesticate these birds. Once trained they are used for hunting hares and smaller birds. Falconry is illegal in India but in other Asian countries, it is considered a sport.

Paradise Flycatcher -Adorable Passerine


Paradise flycatcher, an adorable passerine bird ranked under the least concern category by IUCN is found across Asian and African continents. By nomenclature, they are also known as Ribbon birds or Rocket birds. They communicate using sharp skreek calls and hops around the branches. Settling peacefully on the branches these passerines lookout for prey rather than skimming compared to other flycatchers.

These migratory birds, scientifically named as Terpsiphone paradise appears in two different plumages in the wild, reddish-brown and white with a jet black textured head having blue rings around the eyes. The underpart of the bird normally appears as a grey plumage in nature. In rare case scenarios, Paradise flycatchers with blue plumage have been reported. They prey on live winged arthropods and its size ranges from 7.5 to 8.5 inches with a wingspan of 3.4 – 3.6 inches. Bamboo forests are the favorite environment preferred by these birds as the hunting and nesting ground.

Male birds have two elongated tail feathers compared to females, it is owing to these mesmerizing elongated tail feathers they are termed as paradise birds. The tail feather size of the males ranges from 12 – 14 inches, which is three times its body size. The combination of black and white is rarely found when compared to the reddish-brown ones. Male birds take up to two years to reach adulthood. During the early stages, male and female appears to be almost same and hard to distinguish.

Some males during the adult transitional phase have an ability to change its plumage from reddish-brown to white. In some, this color change marks the beginning of its pairing or mating phase. It is during the third year the color change initiates among the Paradise birds. For the complete transition to shiny white, it takes a year. By the completion of the fourth year, the transition will be completed. Once the transition is completed the bird maintains the same color throughout its remaining life cycle. These birds have an affinity towards the water bodies when it comes to nesting owing to increased arthropod presence. They land on the ground rarely to have water or to catch insects. Their presence has been reported in India, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Turkestan, and Afghanistan.


The nesting phase extends throughout the summer season ranging from May to July. Nests are built of twigs and spider webs and have a habit of building it in the vicinity of breeding Drongos to keep out predators. Female birds have a predominant role in the nesting phase as she spends majority of the time within the nest to lay eggs.

Two eggs are laid on the first day, within the next two to three days another one or two eggs are laid to complete the clutch of three or four. The eggs appear in a pale pink color with reddish-brown marks all around. Both males and females take turns in incubating the eggs day and night for a period of 16 days. The nestling period lasts for a duration of 9-12 days. Once the eggs hatch both parents are involved in successive feeding of the chicks. For more information on Paradise flycatcher please do visit this link.