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They occur in broad-leafed and coniferous forest, urban parkland, and marshes. May occasionally be found in mangroves, agricultural fields and even inside wooded suburbia.
The crested goshawk relying on surprise as it flies from a perch to catch its prey unaware. Their main preys are squirrels, rodents, bats, birds and reptiles, namely common flamebacks Dinopium javanense, black-and-yellow broadbills Eurylaimus ochromalus and the slender squirrel Sundasciurus tenuis.
This species breeds in December-June. They build a stick nest placed in a fork near the top of a tree. The nest is lined with green leaves and material continues to be added during incubation. The female lays 2 plain white eggs which are incubated for 28-38 days by both parents. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 27-31 days after hatching.