(1809) Astur trivirgatus trivirgatus.
THE CRESTED GOSHAWK.
Falco trivirgatus Temm., Pl Col., pl. 303 (1824) (Sumatra). Lophospizias trivirgatus. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 401 (part.).
Vernacular names. Gor Bezra, Manik Bezra, Koteswar (Hind.); Kokila dega (Tel.).
Description. Forehead, crown and nuchal crest blackish-grey, paler on the sides of the head and neck, the feathers with dark shafts; upper parts dark brown; the tail-coverts tipped with white; tail light brown, tipped with white and with one concealed and four exposed dark brown bars; wing-quills barred with dark brown, the inner webs white below the notch ; chin, throat and breast white, a dark brown mesial streak from the angle of the chin to the breast; breast white with broad streaks of rich rufous brown; under tail-coverts pure white; remaining underparts barred white and dark rufous-brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris golden-yellow ; bill horny-brown or plumbeous-horny, the culmen and tip blackish, the gape yellowish; cere and eyelids greenish-yellow ; legs and feet dull pale yellow to fairly bright dark yellow, claws blackish-horny.
Measurements. Wing 195 to 208, once 220 mm.; tail 151 to 173 mm.; tarsus about 51 to 57 mm.; culmen 21 to 26 mm.
Young birds are dark brown above, each feather edged with fulvous and with fulvous or rufous bases showing more or less everywhere ; the hind-neck being fulvous with merely a few black spots; head-feathers very broadly edged with fulvous and a broad supercilium fulvous with a few black streaks ; lower plumage buff or pale rufous, the throat and breast with broad spots of dark brown and the thighs more or less barred with the same colour.
Distribution. Ceylon and Travancore, North to Khandesh, Nilgiris and other hill-ranges of Mysore and Southern India ; Malay Peninsula North to Tenasserim and East to the Philippines. Travancore and Ceylon birds are very small but Nilgiri, Wynaad and Bombay birds are larger and run up to a wing of 220 mm.
Nidification. The Crested Goshawk breeds in Southern Travancore in March and April, making a large nest of sticks and twigs, lined with green leaves and placed high up in some great tree in the interior of either evergreen or deciduous forests. The height is usually anything between forty and a hundred feet, but Stewart also found nests occasionally on saplings within about twenty feet from the ground. Preferably trees are selected for building-purposes near rivers or small ponds. In Kanara, Bell and Davidson found nests with eggs in April but in Ceylon its nest has not yet been taken. The eggs number two or three and are like large eggs of Astur badius but the texture is coarser ; the usual shape is a broad oval, the smaller end hardly perceptible. Twenty eggs average 46.8 x 37.2 mm.: maxima 50.2 X 39.6 mm.; minima 43.2 x 36.4 and 45.9 x 36.2 mm. The hen bird sits close and sometimes attacks human marauders with fierceness but, at other times, slips off the nest with no demonstration at all.
Habits. This Goshawk is a purely forest bird and is found alike in the plains and up to 3,500 feet in Ceylon and perhaps higher than this in the hills of Southern Indian. In Travancore it seems most common between 1,500 and 3,000 feet. It is a shy bird and difficult to watch or obtain, sitting much of its time on trees,high up and well-screened by foliage, where it can see and watch for its prey without being seen itself. It lives principally on frogs and lizards, varying these from time to time with small mammals and birds. Wait says its cry is a shrill note of one syllable.