Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)

Latin Etymology: Spilornis ("spot bird") cheela (?)
Adult Crested Serpent Eagle (subspecies S. c. burmanicusat Prek Toal, Cambodia - February 2019

Featured Subspecies: Spilornis cheela burmanicus
Weight: 420-1800g  /  Length: 50-74cm  /  Wingspan: 123-155cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Crested Serpent Eagle was a bit of a frustrating species for me in that I only ever saw it perched along the side of motorways - not exactly ideal circumstances for viewing or photography!  As the name suggests, they are reptile hunting specialists focusing on snakes and lizards, and thus seem to favour exposed perches from which they can survey for their prey.  Though it is broadly a widespread and common species across Tropical East Asia, certain subspecies - particular island endemic ones - are considered endangered.

Related Species:
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Spilornis
Subspecies: S.c. cheela, S. c. melanotis, S. c. spilogaster, S. c. burmanicus, S. c. davisoni, S. c. ricketti, S. c. hoya, S. c. rutherfordi, S. c. palawanensis, S. c. pallidus, S. c. richmondi, S. c. malayensis, S. c. batu, S. c. bido, S. c. minimus, S. c. perplexus, S. c. natunensis, S. c. abbotti, S. c. asturinus, S. c. sipora, S. c. bawaneanus

 - Sighting Locations -
CAMBODIA - Khmer - អកពស់ព្រៃ ("? wild snake")
 A fairly common resident..
 - CAMBODIA/SINGAPORE 2019 TRIPOne seen at Prek Toal,
MALAYSIA - Malay - Helang Kuik 
 A fairly common resident in low densities
 - MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE 2016 TRIP: Birds seen from motorways between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and Kuala Lumpur and Malacca

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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