Andaman serpent eagle

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The Andaman serpent eagle (Spilornis elgini) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These Andaman serpent eagle species are distributed in South Andaman Island in India.

Taxonomy of Andaman serpent eagle

  • Scientific Name: Spilornis elgini
  • Common Name: Andaman serpent eagle
  • French: Serpentaire des Andaman German: Andamanenschlangenweihe Spanish: Culebrera de Andam├ín;
  • Other names: Haematornis elgini Blyth, 1863;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Blyth, 1863)
Spilornis elgini is closely related to S. cheela. It was earlier included in the genus Haematornis.

Indian birds - Image of Andaman serpent eagle - Spilornis elgini
Indian birds - Image of Andaman serpent eagle - Spilornis elgini


The Andaman serpent eagle is a medium sized bird, measuring 50 to 60 cm in length and weighing 800 to 1,000 grams. The wingspan is 110 to 140 cm. It has a small crest. The face is bright yellow. The dark brown body has numerous white speckles on the breast, belly, and scapulars. The undertail has thick black and white bands. The legs are bare and yellow. Its call is a sharp whistling sound.


These eagle species inhabit subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and mangrove forests.

Feeding habits

These eagle species feed mainly on snakes and lizards. They may also prey on small mammals, birds, fish, frogs and crabs.


Not much is known about the breeding habits.


These serpent eagle species are endemic to Indian South Andaman Island.

Movement Patterns

These serpent eagle species are sedentary and move within their range.

Status and conservation

The population of these eagle species is estimated to number 1,500 to 7,500 individual birds. Due to habitat degradation, increasing agricultural activities and hunting there is steady decline in the population. Human activities in the interior forests and habitat loss are the main threats to the survival of these species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as "Near Threatened".

Biological classification of Spilornis elgini
Species:S. elgini
Binomial name:Spilornis elgini
Distribution:South Andaman Island in India;
Feeding habits:reptiles like snakes and lizards; also on small mammals, crabs, fish, frogs and birds;
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened

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