The crested hawk eagle, also known as the changeable hawk eagle is a large bird of prey that is frequently seen in woodland areas around the island, and in large numbers at Yala, Wilpattu, and Uda Walawe National Park, as well as several nature reserves in the hill country.
At a size of around 60-75cm, the crested hawk eagle is a medium sized raptor with a plumage that changes color with maturity, earning it the alias of ‘changeable hawk eagle’. Adult crested hawk eagles have a much darker, dirtier-looking plumage, whereas the juveniles have a more clean looking pale plumage with some white under and upper parts.
Crested hawk eagles can usually be spotted singly, perching on trees surrounding open areas. They tend to sit bolt upright on a perch, waiting for their prey, before swooping in for the kill, and carrying off their prey in their talons. Crested hawk eagles will feed on mammals, and reptiles, and can even eat birds of medium size such as pheasants, and junglefowl.