Philippine Serpent Eagle (Spilornis holospilus)

Philippine Serpent Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Spilornis holospilus | [authority] Vigors, 1831 | [UK] Philippine Serpent Eagle | [FR] Serpentaire de philippines | [DE] Philippinen-Weihe | [ES] Culebrera filipina | [NL] Filippijnse Slangenarend


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Spilornis holospilus OR Philippines


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

Medium-sized Serpent Eagle which is distinguished from other species of serpent eagle by more well-defined spots on the underpants and wings. It is has a longer tail than congeners and underparts are more uniformly colored with markings more defined. No dark crown. The tail has is broad banded brown-black, underparts reddish with white spots form irregular stripes on breast and belly. Upperparts brownish with white spots around the scapulars. Cere and legs yellow.

Listen to the sound of Philippine Serpent Eagle

[audio: Serpent Eagle.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

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size min.: 48 cm size max.: 64 cm
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Oriental Region : Philippines. It is endemic to the Philippines


This species is usually found in forest clearings, open woodlands, and sometimes in cultivated lands with scattered trees. Soars high above the forest and forest edge after thermals develop and can be seen soaring throughout the day.


The nest and eggs are undescribed, but a bird with an egg in the oviduct was reported in April.

Feeding habits

Hunts in the forest canopy for snakes, amphibians, reptiles and other live prey.

Video Philippine Serpent Eagle


copyright: Eldert Groenewoud


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Common throughout its limited range, but probbly suffering some declines as a result of the loss of forested habitat. However, this species may be more adpatable to some habitat modification than certain other eagle species.
Philippine Serpent Eagle status Least Concern


Probably non-migratory

Distribution map

Philippine Serpent Eagle distribution range map

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