Crested Serpent Eagle - Burma
Crested Serpent Eagles
Crested Serpent Eagles are medium-sized eagles that live throughout Indochina and southern Asia, in a wide range of habitats. Generally, Crested Serpent Eagles are dark from above with a lighter brown underside. They have white spots and streaks on their wing coverts and scapulars and the underside of their flight feathers is black with broad white bands. The nape of neck and the crown are black, while the crest is brown and barred with white. The breast is barred or a solid color, and the belly, thighs, and crissum are rufous with dark barring and white spots. The tail is black with a white tip and thick white bar. The wings are short and broad. When the crest is raised in alarm, it frames the entire face. Legs are unfeathered, and the eyes are bright yellow.
Habitat and Distribution:
They occur in a wide range of habitats, including rain forest, open savannah, mangrove swamps, plantations, ravines, evergreen and deciduous forest, and tidal creeks. Crested Serpent Eagles tolerate habitat disturbance, as long as there are some large trees. They live from 0-1,500 meters above sea level, but go as high as 2,500 m in Taiwan and 3,350 m in Nepal. They are irruptive or local migrants.
Their range spans the Indian subcontinent and southern Asia, from the Himalayas, the Kashmir region, and Nepal east to Tibet, southern China, and the Malay peninsula, along with the Philippines, Indonesia, Borneo, and the Andaman Islands. Their total distribution size is 7,720,000 km², from 35°N to 9°S.
The Crested Serpent Eagle, as its English name suggests, is a specialist reptile eater which hunts over forests, often close to wet grassland, for snakes and lizards. It is placed along with the snake eagles of the genus Circaetus in the subfamily Circaetinae. It is found mainly over areas with thick vegetation both on the low hills and the plains. This species is a resident species, but in some parts of their range they are found only in summer. The breeding season is mainly in winter to spring. The nest is a large platform built high on a tree. Both birds in a pair build the nest but the female alone incubates. In central India, the Terminalia tomentosa is often used. The nests are lined with green leaves from the tree on which it is placed. The usual clutch is one egg but two are sometimes laid and only a single chick is successfully raised in a season. Nests are defended by the parents.
Within its widespread range across tropical Asia, 21 populations have been named as subspecies. The most widespread subspecies are the nominate from along the sub-Himalayan range in India and Nepal, melanotis in Peninsular India, spilogaster of Sri Lanka, burmanicus in most of Indochina, ricketti in northern Vietnam and southern China, malayensis of the Thai-Malay Peninsula and northern Sumatra, pallidus from northern Borneo, richmondi from southern Borneo, bido from Java and Bali, batu from southern Sumatra and Batu, hoya from Taiwan, rutherfordi from Hainan, and palawanensis from Palawan. The remaining subspecies are all restricted to smaller islands: davisoni in the Andamans, minimus (Central Nicobar Serpent Eagle) from the central Nicobars, perplexus (Ryukyu Serpent Eagle) from Ryukyu, natunensis (Natuna Serpent Eagle) from Natuna, abbotti (Simeulie Serpent Eagle) from Simeulue, sipora (Mentawai Serpent Eagle) from Mentawai, asturinus (Nias Serpent Eagle) from Nias, and baweanus (Bawean Serpent Eagle) of the Bawean. The last seven (with English names in brackets) are sometimes treated as separate species. Although the Crested Serpent Eagle remains widespread and fairly common overall, some of the taxa that are restricted to small islands are believed to have relatively small populations that likely are in the hundreds. The rarest is probably the Bawean Serpent Eagle with a declining population of about 26–37 pairs, which makes it critically endangered. The specific name cheela is derived from the Hindi name for kites.
Here I have posted Union of Burma Stamps in block of four
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