The crested serpent-eagle is a common raptor in Taiwan’s lowlands to mid-elevation mountains. It feeds on reptiles, especially snakes, from where it gets its name. Markings on its underside resemble those of the spotted deer. On sunny days, it soars, announcing its territory with a clear, long call. Its breeding season is April to May. In low elevation mountains and hilly areas of Tainan, it is possible to find its nesting grounds. One egg is produced per clutch. Around 45 days are needed for hatching and 60 to 65 days for weaning. The hatchlings are weak and prone to capture by the crested goshawk. Crested serpent-eagles also prey on crested goshawk hatchlings. Snakes made up most of the diet in these nesting grounds, with the bamboo viper common. There were also Taiwan japalure, skinks, frogs, toads and moles. There have been sightings of parents bringing back live poisonous snakes, which have killed juvenile birds. I saw smaller snakes escape from a nest. The nests are in treetops with little shade and parents take turns protecting their young from the sun’s rays.
2019.07.13 - 2020.02.16