Sulawesi Serpent Eagle (Spilornis rufipectus)

Sulawesi Serpent Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Spilornis rufipectus | [authority] Gould, 1858 | [UK] Sulawesi Serpent Eagle | [FR] Serpentaire des Celebes | [DE] Celebes-Schlangenweihe | [ES] Culebrera de Celebes | [NL] Celebesslangearend


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

The adult has a complete dark hood with some fine light spots in hindneck. The hood extends to the chin and has longer feathering covering upperchest. Breast and upper belly are reddish with fine white spots forming loose stripes. The belly and flanks are more clearly striped; tail with only one bar. Cere and legs yellow.

Listen to the sound of Sulawesi Serpent Eagle

[audio: Serpent Eagle.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 41 cm size max.: 50 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 : Sulawesi


Inhabits primary lowland, hill, and, locally, montane forest. Also occurs in tall secondary forest, scrub woodland, forest edge, and lightly wooded cultivation. Often hunts over adjacent open grassland. Usually seen flying at a moderately low height above the canopy, but occasionally much higher. Perches conspicuously on an exposed treetop branch or lower at the forest edge, but also in concealed perches below the canopy. Seen singly, or in pairs


Little information. Fledged young have been recorded in May, so the breeding season may be from January to April.

Feeding habits

Feeds on lizards, small snakes, and occasionally small mammals (rodents) (Coates and Bishop 1997). It is often seen foraging over open grassland, and it is attracted to grass fires

Video Sulawesi Serpent Eagle


copyright: Martin Kennewell


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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not 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.
Sulawesi Serpent Eagle status Least Concern



Distribution map

Sulawesi Serpent Eagle distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *