The Changeable Hawk-Eagle, also known as the Crested Hawk-Eagle or the Variable Hawk-Eagle, is a bird of prey that inhabits various regions of Asia, including India, Southeast Asia, and parts of Indonesia. The name “changeable” is given to this species because of its ability to alter its plumage or coloration depending on its age, sex, or location.
The Changeable Hawk-Eagle is a medium-sized raptor that can grow up to 65 cm in length and has a wingspan of up to 140 cm. Its plumage is generally dark brown on the upperparts and light brown on the underparts, with distinctive pale spots on the belly and thighs. Its head is crested with a prominent tuft of feathers, which gives it a distinctive appearance.
However, the plumage of the Changeable Hawk-Eagle can vary depending on the bird’s age, sex, or geographic location. Juvenile birds have a more mottled appearance with pale edges to their feathers, while adult males have a darker, more uniform plumage than females. Additionally, the bird’s plumage can be influenced by its geographic location, with birds in Southeast Asia being generally darker than those in India.
The ability of the Changeable Hawk-Eagle to change its plumage has led to confusion among birdwatchers and taxonomists. In the past, different plumage variations were mistakenly identified as separate species. It wasn’t until the 1970s that scientists began to recognize that the different variations were actually part of the same species.
Apart from its ability to change its plumage, the Changeable Hawk-Eagle is also known for its impressive hunting skills. It is a powerful hunter that preys on a variety of animals, including birds, reptiles, and mammals. It hunts by soaring high in the sky, scanning the ground for potential prey, and then diving down to attack with its sharp talons.
The Changeable Hawk-Eagle is also known for its distinctive vocalizations. It has a variety of calls, including a high-pitched whistle, a harsh scream, and a series of barks. These calls are used for communication between birds and are an important part of their social behavior.
In conclusion, the Changeable Hawk-Eagle is a fascinating bird of prey that is aptly named for its ability to change its plumage depending on various factors. Its hunting skills and distinctive vocalizations make it a popular subject for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. While the name “changeable” may be a source of confusion for some, it serves as a reminder of the incredible diversity and adaptability of the natural world.