Andaman Serpent Eagle - Spilornis elgini | The Eagle Directory

Andaman Serpent Eagle - Spilornis elgini

Family: Accpitridae
Genus: Spilornis
Species: S. elgini

Andaman Serpent Eagles are medium-sized, dark brown raptors that live in the Andaman Islands off the coast of India.

Physical Description:

Andaman Serpent Eagles are almost entirely dark brown in color except for a bright yellow face and legs and a white-speckled breast, belly, and scapulars. The primary feathers are black with a thin white edge and the undertail has thick black and white bands. They have a short bushy crest, unfeathered legs, and long wings.

Juveniles are paler than adults with a whiter head and a dark-streaked throat. They have white spots along the wing coverts and underparts, with buff barring on the belly. The undertail has thinner bars.

Their call is a clear and rapid "chee-o chee-o chee-o". Listen to an Andaman Serpent Eagle.


Length: 51-59 cm
Wingspan: 115-135 cm

Habitat and Distribution:

Andaman Serpent Eagles are endemic to India and live on the Andaman Islands. They occupy forests, on hillsides where there are trees, and tropical lowland areas. They are found at elevations from sea level to 700 meters and are relatively common in their small range. There are an estimated 1,000 individuals.

Diet and Hunting:

They eat birds, snakes, lizards, rats, and frogs, and are thought to hunt from a perch.


No information.


Andaman Serpent Eagles have been listed as Near Threatened by BirdLife International, due to agriculture, logging, grazing, hunting, and other human activity that destroys the forests they live in. The population is declining, and the rate of habitat loss may be increasing.


Spilornis elgini was formerly considered to be a subspecies of Spilornis cheela (Crested Serpent Eagle).

Other Names:

Andaman Dark Serpent Eagle, Orlík andamanský (Czech), Andamanslangeørn (Danish), Adamanslangearend (Dutch), Andamani maduhaugas (Estonian), Tummaharjakotka (Finnish), Serpentaire des Andaman (French), Andamanenschlangenweihe (German), Aquila serpentaria delle Andamane (Italian), Andamankammuriwashiwashi (Japanese), Andamansnokørn (Norwegian), Wezojad andamanski (Polish), Culebrera de Andamán (Spanish), Andamanormörn (Swedish).

Video of an Andaman Serpent Eagle:

BirdLife International (2012) Species factsheet: Spilornis elgini. Downloaded from on 06/01/2012.
BirdLife International 2008. Spilornis elgini. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. Downloaded on 22 July 2011.
Global Raptor Information Network. 2011. Species account: Andaman Serpent Eagle Spilornis elgini. Downloaded from on 21 Jul. 2011
Ferguson-Lees, James, and Christie, David A. Raptors of the World. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.