1756. Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus

(1756) Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus (Gmelin).
The Indian Crested Hawk-EAGLE.
Spizaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v. p. 85. Limnaetops cirrhatus cirrhatus, ibid. vol. viii, p. 685.
The distribution of this Hawk-Eagle embraces practically the whole of the Indian Peninsula, North to Etawah, in the Punjab, and to Western Bengal ; South it is replaced in Southern Travancore by the next race, ceylonensis.
* In creating the name Limnaetops for the genus formerly known as Spizaetus (really an American group) I unfortunately overlooked Nisaetus, which is applicable to our Indian genus (Hodgs., Journ. Asiat. Soc. Beng. vol. v, p. 229, 1876, Type by orig. design, Nisaetus nipalensis). Kirke-Swann considers Spizaetus and Nisaetus congeneric.
Although this is a very common Eagle in the South-West of India, where Davidson and Vidal took many nests and eggs, there is not much on record about their breeding. Both these gentlemen sent eggs and notes to Hume, which are recorded in ‘Nests and Eggs.’ These notes, together with others from Vidal's note-books, may be summarized as follows:—They breed both in forests and in more open country which is well wooded. According to Thompson they select trees “in some good game country,” but often in places where there is little or no game from the sportsman’s point of view, though there may he ample from that of the birds. They do not mind what tree they nest in provided these are big enough to enable them to place their home at a considerable height from the ground. Mango-trees, whether solitary or in orchards, are undoubtedly the favourites, but nests have been found in Banyan (Ficus indica), Peepul (F. religiosa), Tamarind, Hora (Dipterocarpus), Cypress and in many other species. They do not, however, nest in the Acacias and small thorny trees so often selected by the Tawny Eagle. Most nests are over 40 feet from the ground and many far higher even than this.
The nest is large ; the only dimensions given are for one of Vidal’s, over 3 feet across and very deep, about 18 inches,” but they are always described as “large,” “very large,” “huge” etc. They are built of sticks, branches and twigs, the larger of these being used for the outer part and base, the smaller for the inner part and for the construction of the egg-chamber, which is usually deep. The actual lining is of green leaves, and those most often used are Mango-leaves, probably because of their thickness retaining moisture more than others. The material seems to be generally rather untidily and loosely put together, the ends of the sticks hanging down and protruding from the mass in all directions.
The principal breeding months are January, February and early March, but eggs have been taken from the middle of November to the end of April.
Vidal thought the bird very shy, deserting the nest on very little provocation, but Davidson found just the contrary and from one nest took an egg on the 9th March, hard set, and another slightly set on the 23rd April.
Only one egg is laid and there is no record of two young or eggs.
The eggs are white, though very seldom quite unmarked. Most are feebly speckled or faintly blotched with light reddish at the larger extremity, while occasionally they are marked sparingly over the whole surface or at the smaller end only. I have also seen one or two eggs minutely speckled at the larger end with deep purple.
The texture is coarse, the surface rather rough and never glossed.
Thirty-nine eggs average 67.3 x 51.9 mm. maxima 71.1 x 52.2 and 71.0 x 52.8 mm. ; minima 65.3 x 49.9 mm.
Both sexes assist in building the nest but there is no evidence that the male ever takes part in incubation. They are cowardly birds and never make any demonstration even against robbers of their eggs or young, flapping lazily away to some distant tree as soon as they are disturbed.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 4. 1935.
Title in Book: 
1756. Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Indian Crested Hawk Eagle
Nisaetus cirrhatus cirrhatus
Vol. 4
Term name: 

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