Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crested Hawk-Eagle - Sri Lanka

Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka
Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka

The Crested Hawk-Eagle, also called the Changeable Hawk-Eagle, is a common raptor found throughout the dry lowlands. We saw a number of these raptors in Yala, Arugam Bay, Anuradhapura and Willpattu while we were in Sri Lanka. I was fortunate to take a few decent images of the raptor during these sightings.

More images after the jump.

Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka
 Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka

Identifying the Changeable Hawk-Eagle is relatively easy. Its upright crest and streaked underparts are easily recognised. However, there is a variation in plumage based on the birds age. The younger birds look cleaner as their upper parts are lighter in colour. Their underparts are white too.

Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka
Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka

The sightings in Yala were probably the best sightings we had during the trip. The first and third photographs on this post were taken while we were watching the Rukwilla cubs. I think the bird had a nest in one of the Palu trees (Manilkara hexandra) nearby as we saw it in the area on a number of occasions.

Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka
Crested Hawk-Eagle - Yala, Sri Lanka

The photograph above was taken on the Welmal Kema Road. We noticed the young eagle in the tree because of it's call. We watched the bird for about ten minutes. Much to the amusement of our driver who kept saying "it's just a bird".  People seem to be coming to the park to see only Leopard and Bear. It's a sad situation really.

Crested Hawk-Eagle - Willpattu, Sri Lanka
Crested Hawk-Eagle - Willpattu, Sri Lanka

We also had a good sighting of a Crested Hawk-Eagle in Willpattu. It was perched on a low branch just off the road. Unfortunately there were a few branches between the camera and the raptor and I couldn't get a clean shot.

All the photographs in this post were captured with a Canon 7d and the 100-400mm lens. 
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