Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crested Serpent Eagle - Wilpattu, Sri Lanka

A Photograph of a Crested Serpent Eagle taken in Wilpattu, Sri Lanka
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela spilogaster) - Wilpattu, Sri Lanka

The Serpent Eagle is one of the more common birds of prey found in Sri Lanka. Although it is found across tropical Asia, the Sri Lankan subspecies is endemic. In total, 21 subspecies of the Serpent Eagle have been identified across its range.

More photographs after the jump.

A Photograph of a Crested Serpent Eagle taken in Wilpattu, Sri Lanka
 Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela spilogaster) - Wilpattu, Sri Lanka

On my last trip to Sri Lanka in July, I saw the Serpent Eagle in Kandy, Arugam Bay and Wilpattu. The sighting in Wilpattu was the best in terms of photography as we were around 10 meters away from the Eagle. We came across it while driving down a road which had thick undergrowth on either side. The bird was perched on a branch that was about 10 feet off the ground and overhanging the road.

A Photograph of a Crested Serpent Eagle taken in Wilpattu, Sri Lanka
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela spilogaster) - Wilpattu, Sri Lanka

Fortunately for us, it was not spooked by the approaching vehicle and was content to watch us as we drove up and stopped almost under the tree. I was able to photograph it while leaning out of the jeep window. We spent about 10-15 minutes with the eagle before driving off right under its perch. When we came back about half an hour later, we were surprised to see it still on the same perch.

A Photograph of a Crested Serpent Eagle taken in Wilpattu, Sri Lanka
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela spilogaster) - Wilpattu, Sri Lanka

All these photographs were taken with the Canon 7D and the 100-400mm lens.



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