Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)

Latin Etymology: Spilornis ("spot bird") cheela (?)
Adult Crested Serpent Eagle (subspecies S. c. malayensis) from road between Kuala Lumpur and Malacca - July 2016

Local Name (Malay): Helang Kuik 
Featured Subspecies: Spilornis cheela malayensis
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 -
MALAYSIA - 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: ArkiveBirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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