Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle (Spilornis klossi)

Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Spilornis klossi | [authority] Richmond, 1902 | [UK] Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle | [FR] Serpentaire menu | [DE] Nikobaren-Schlangenweihe | [ES] Culebrera de Nicobar | [NL] Nicobarslangenarend


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Spilornis klossi OR Great Nicobar Island


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

General colour above drab with a slight coppery sheen and some of the feathers with narrow white tips ; nape and sides of the neck Isabella colour; top of head black, the longer feathers with narrow tips of Isabella colour; ear-coverts, cheeks and malar region clear smoke-grey; throat buffy-white with an indistinct median stripe of smoke-grey ; breast buffy wood-brown, paler on abdomen, sides, thighs and under tail-coverts; lesser and middle wing-coverts dark drab, prominently edged with white; primaries black with two dusky bars, one only on the outer primary; tail with two pale bars. Iris yellow; cere, base of bill and naked skin on sides of head yellow; bill, tip black, middle bluish. Immature birds have buffy tips to the feathers of head, back and wing-coverts; the tail has three bars instead of two. This is the smallest Eagle known

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 41 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 : Great Nicobar Island. Spilornis klossi is endemic to the islands of Great Nicobar (including Pulo Kunji), Little Nicobar and Menchal in the South Nicobar island group, Nicobar islands, India


It is found in forest, and is seen most frequently found in the canopy.


No data available, some proof it does not engage in displays.

Feeding habits

Little data, but probably feeding behavior and diet like congeners. Diet consists of lizards, birds and rats.


This recently recognised species is believed to have a small population, although not as small as recently reported. Increased settlement has led to increased pressure on natural resources, and planned development projects could severely affect its habitat, resulting in declines, hence its classification as Near Threatened.
Increased settlement of the islands has led to increased pressure on natural resources, and planned development projects could severely affect the habitat of this species. A population decline, as yet unquantified, is suspected on the basis of rates of habitat loss and degradation
Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle status Near Threatened



Distribution map

Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle distribution range map

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