Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)


Andaman Serpent-eagle (Spilornis elgini)


French: Serpentaire des Andaman German: Andamanenschlangenweihe Spanish: Culebrera de Andamán

Haematornis elgini


, 1863,

South Andaman Island


Rather distinctive species, certainly separate from (and not a race of) S. cheela; occurs in sympatry with race davisoni of S. cheela. Monotypic.


Andaman Is.

Descriptive notes

51–59 cm; 790–1000 g; wingspan 115–135 cm. Medium-sized dark serpent-eagle with short crest. Overall, very dark brown with numerous small white spots that... read more


Vocalizations consist of sharp, clear whistles, differing markedly from calls of S. cheela. read more


Forest interior, typically in clearings; also on open hillsides with scattered trees at elevations... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. Apparently takes variety of prey, especially birds; also frogs, lizards, rats and snakes. Hunts from perch in typical... read more


Quite vocal during display flights, which include mutual soaring over territory. No further information available.


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES II. Restricted-range species: present in Andaman Islands EBA. Very small range not severely fragmented; believed to be quite common, evidently the commonest... read more

Recommended citation

Clark, W.S., Christie, D.A., Marks, J.S. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Andaman Serpent-eagle (Spilornis elgini). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 March 2020).