Circaetus gallicus, Gm.
38. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 76 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 446; Deccan, &c, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 373; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 79; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 57 ; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 217.
THE COMMON SERPENT EAGLE.
Jean le Blanc. Sampmar, Hin.
Length, 25.75; expanse, 70 ; tail, 11.75 ; wing, 20.8 ; tarsus, 3.7.
Length, 29 ; expanse, 76; tail, 13.25 ; wing, 22.
Bill pale greyish-blue at the base, blackish horny at the tips; cere small, whitish, with a tinge of bluish-grey in places ; irides deep yellow; legs dirty pale yellow ; claws black.
Young: head and nape whitish; the feathers brown streaked; back and wings pale earthy-brown, lightest on the wing-coverts; quills dusky-black; tail pale ashy-brown, with darker bands, and the inner webs almost white ; beneath chin to breast fulvous, with narrow longitudinal brown streaks ; from the breast to the vent white, with a pale brown streak on the centre of each feather.
The adult is darker brown above and on the head; and the lower parts white ; the feathers all marked with brown stripes, or spots, tending to form a denser zone on the throat and breast.
The head is large, full and puffy; the feathers of the head and neck rounded, not lanceolate ; the wings reach to the end of the tail; the inner edge of the centre claw is conspicuously dilated into a cutting edge.
This Eagle is known by several trivial names, one of the best known being Jean-le-Blanc; it was called the Common Serpent Eagle, by Jerdon, on account of its penchant for snakes, to which habit also it owes its Hindustani appellation; it is also called the Short-toed Eagle.
It is found throughout the region, frequenting open plains, but eschewing the more densely-wooded districts. It breeds during the first three months of the year; the nest is generally built on trees, and is a large, loose, straggling structure, composed of sticks and twigs. The egg, there is only one, is a broadish oval, of a pale bluish-white color; the egg lining is a peculiar bright sap-green. The size of an average egg is 3 inches by 2.35.