Crested Serpent-Eagle is a large, dark bird of prey with broad, rounded
black and white wings, and a rather short tail. When the bird is seen
in flight, the broad white wing band and broad whitish tail band are diagnostic.
Adult males and females look alike, having a distinctive, short black-and-white
striped, fan-shaped crest lying on the nape. The flattened crest gives
the bird a thick-necked, block-headed appearance. The upperparts are dark
brown with fine white spots on their upper wing coverts and scapulars.
The color of the feathers in the base-layer of their bellies is tealeaf
brown mixed with some yellowish-brown spots. The belly, flanks and vent
are spotted with white. The bird has bare yellow skin between the eye
and black bill. The legs are yellow.
The Crested Serpent-Eagles' call is a loud: "hu, hu, hu-liu, hu-liu"
frequently given in flight. They are often seen soaring or perched on
a branch or electric wire with a good view, watching for prey. Their diet
consists primarily of snakes, lizards, rats, and sometimes crabs.
Crested Serpent-Eagles are common residents of Taiwan. They can be seen
all year from low foothills to forests 2,500 meters above sea level. The
best time to observe them is during their breeding season from March to
: The complete guide to birds in Taiwan (Jin-yuan Wang)