Spilornis cheela, Lath.
39. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 78 ; Butler, Deccan, &c.; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 373 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 80; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 222.
THE CRESTED SERPENT EAGLE,
Length, 26 to 28 ; expanse, 58 to 63 ; wing, 18.5 to 20; tail, 12 to 13 ; tarsus, 3.9 to 4.3 ; bill from gape, 1.9.
Length, 29 to 32; expanse, 67.5 to 73; wing, 19.5 to 21; tail, 14 to 15 ; tarsus, 4.15 to 4.5 ; bill from gape, 2.12.
Cere and orbits deep yellow; irides bright yellow; legs dirty yellow.
Adult: head black, the feathers white on their basal portion, and for nearly two-thirds their Length, showing a conspicuous full black and white crest; above hair-brown; shoulders and lesser wing-coverts with small white spots, the quills with broad dusky bands; tail brown, mottled and clouded with white, and with two broad blackish bands; beneath chin to breast unspotted brown; thence to under tail-coverts pale brown, with whitish faint bars, and white ocelli.
The young bird has the upper plumage brown, edged with pale rufous, the crest feathers having more white than the adult; the tail hoary-brown, with three broad bars; quills brown, with darker bands, and the quills and medial wing-coverts tipped white; beneath pale whity-buff; the feathers of the breast darkest, and centred with brown; ear-coverts, and stripe beneath the eyes, deep black.
The Crested Serpent or Indian Harrier Eagle is very rare ; one was obtained at Savantvadi by Mr. Crawford, and another in Sind by Mr. Blanford. These are, I believe, the only recorded instances of its occurrence within our limits.