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Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle
Spilornis klossi

Status: Near Threatened

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Great Nicobar Serpent-eagle, Small Serpent-eagle, South Nicobar Serpent-eagle, South Nicobar Serpent Eagle, Southern Nicobar Serpent-eagle.

Spilornis klossi
click to enlarge
Distribution: Indomalayan. Endemic to Great Nicobar (including Pulo Kunji), Little Nicobar, and Menchal in the South NICOBAR ISLANDS group, off INDIA.

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Treated as a race of S. cheela by Stresemann and Amadon (1979), or as conspecific with S. minimus by others (e.g., Amadon and Bull 1988). Clark (1994) and Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2000) regarded it as a distinct species. Molecular genetics studies are needed to clarify the relationships of this group.

Movements: Probably non-migratory.

Habitat and Habits: Most frequently found in the forest canopy (Richmond 1903, Abdulali 1967, 1978, Sankaran 1998) from sea level to 600 m (Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001).

Food and Feeding Behavior: Probably feeds on reptiles, rodents, and birds, as the stomach contents of a single individual contained lizards, rats, a small bird, and an Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Breeding: No information.

Conservation: This species may still be common in primary forest within its very small range, but increased settlement of the islands has led to intense pressure on natural resources, and planned development projects could severely affect the habitat of this limited-range species (Stattersfield et al. 1998). BirdLife International categorizes this species as "Near Threatened."

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) estimated the global population, including adults and immatures at the beginning of the breeding season, at anywhere from 11 to 1,000 individuals in the absence of any actual quantitative data. They noted that the species would have to be present at a high density on Great Nicobar, which is only 800 kmē in extent, for the population to reach three figures. BirdLife International (2009) declined to make a population estimate.

Important References: 
Ali, S., and S.D. Ripley. 1978. Handbook of the birds of India and
  Pakistan. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, Delhi, India.
Amadon, D. 1974. Taxonomic notes on the serpent-eagles of the genus
  Spilornis. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 94:159-163.
Clark, W.S. 1994. Great Nicobar Serpent-eagle. P. 133 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, A&C Black Publishers Ltd., London.
Rasmussen, P.C., and J.C. Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley
  guide. Vols. 1-2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions, Washington,
  D.C. and Barcelona, Spain.
Richmond, C.W. 1903. Birds collected by Dr. W.L. Abbott and Mr. C.B. Kloss
  on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum
Tikader, B.K. 1988. Birds of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Zoological Survey
  of India, Calcutta, India. more....

Hathwar, Vishnupriya

Last modified: 2/17/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Great Nicobar Serpent Eagle Spilornis klossi. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

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