Andaman Serpent Eagle (Spilornis elgini)

Andaman Serpent Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Spilornis elgini | [authority] Blyth, 1863 | [UK] Andaman Serpent Eagle | [FR] Serpentaire des Andaman | [DE] Andamanen-Schlangenweihe | [ES] Culebrera de Andaman | [NL] Adamanslangearend


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Spilornis are mostly rather large hawks, ranging to rather small. Essentially there is only one widespread form from India to Celebes and the Philippines, with many well-marked island forms. Only on the Andaman Islands has there been a `double invasion’ with two spccies co-existing, and even they appear to be separated ecologically with one living inland and the other in the mangrove swamps. The Celebes and Philippine forms are recognised as distinct; as are some of the dwarf races of the Nicobars and Sumatran Islands.

Physical charateristics

Overall dark, medium-sized Serpent-Eagle. Upper- and underparts very dark with conspicuous white spots all over. Has facial orange bare skin between beak and eyes, giving it a ninja look.

Listen to the sound of Andaman Serpent Eagle

[audio: Serpent Eagle.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 115 cm wingspan max.: 123 cm
size min.: 49 cm size max.: 54 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Oriental Region : Andaman Islands. Spilornis elgini is endemic to South Andaman island, India, where it has been considered common


It occurs in the rainforests of the interior of the island. It appears to be ecologically separated from Crested Serpent-eagle S. cheela, which inhabits coastal forests on the same island


The nest and breeding behavior of this species are undescribed.

Feeding habits

The diet includes birds, frogs, lizards, snakes, and rats. Hunts from perch to catch prey in the air or on the ground.

Video Andaman Serpent Eagle


copyright: J. del Hoyo


This species has a moderately small range in which it is thought to be quite common. However the forests of the interior of the Andaman Islands are coming under increasing pressure from agriculture and development schemes and this species is likely to decline concurrently. It therefore qualifies as Near Threatened.
Although forest remains extensive on the Andamans, loss and fragmentation of cover continues and is perhaps accelerating. The human population on larger islands is rising rapidly and habitat is consequently under mounting pressure from agriculture, grazing and logging. Hunting is also apparently common on the islands and may affect this species.
Andaman Serpent Eagle status Near Threatened



Distribution map

Andaman Serpent Eagle distribution range map

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