Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Spilornis kinabaluensis
Species Authority: Sclater, 1919
Common Name(s):
English Kinabalu Serpent-eagle, Mountain Serpent Eagle, Kinabalu Serpent-eagle, Mountain Serpent-Eagle
Spanish Culebrera del Kinabalu
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 51-56 cm. Small, dark, forest-dwelling eagle. Plumage dark brown, speckled paler on underparts, wings and hindneck. Rich umber-brown patch on nape. Black throat. Fairly long, blackish tail with broad white band. Long wings with black tips and white bases to flight feathers. Similar spp. Its widespread relative, Crested Serpent-eagle S. cheela, is paler with shorter wings and narrower, less distinct greyish-white band on tail. Hints Frequently soars over ridge-tops and occurs at higher altitudes than S. cheela. Voice High repeated whistling notes similar to S. cheela.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Davison, G., Mann, C. & van Balen, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Taylor, J., Tobias, J.
Given the small range and relative mobility of this species, it is judged to comprise a single small population which is likely to be decreasing as a result of continuing habitat loss and degradation creeping up hill-slopes into its altitudinal range. For these reasons it qualifies as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Data Deficient (DD)
1994 Data Deficient (DD)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Spizaetus kinabaluensis is confined to the mountains of central and northern Borneo in Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysia, and Kalimantan, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2001). From observations in the 1980s and 1990s, it appears to be a genuinely scarce species, with a small total population. However, much of its range is infrequently visited and it may prove to be more widespread than current indications suggest. It is likely to occur more or less continuously along the Crocker Range from Mount Kinabalu to Ulu Padas, G. Mulu and the border mountains of Brunei, and Gunung Murud (Pulong Tau National Park) (G. Davison in litt. 2007). The southern and western limits of its distribution are poorly known and need to be investigated, e.g., its occurrence in the Kelabit Highlands and Usun Apau, Kayan Mentarang and central montane parts of Kalimantan (G. Davison in litt. 2007).

Countries occurrence:
Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia; Malaysia
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 36700
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1500
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  A population decline is suspected on the basis of rates of logging and land clearance from lower altitudes up into the montane habitat of this species. The likely rate of population decline, however, has not been estimated.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 2500-9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is apparently sedentary in submontane and montane evergreen rainforest where it tends to prefer ridge-top forest at 750-2,900 m. In areas where it occurs alongside S. cheela it is separated vertically by a few hundred metres.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 12.9
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation are the primary threats to the species, particularly towards the lower altitudinal limits of its distribution, where the extent of forest is diminishing fairly rapidly in the face of agricultural expansion and intensification, although forest at higher altitudes is also threatened, for example by small-holder agriculture (G. Davison in litt. 2007, 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs within Kinabalu and Mulu National Parks and Temburong/Kuala Belalong (Brunei) (G. Davison in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct fieldwork to determine the range (particularly the southern and western limits) and population size of this species along with the degree of threat it faces from habitat destruction. Propose further sites for establishment as protected areas in the Bornean highlands. Ensure effective management of key protected areas for the species, including lending support to the 'Heart of Borneo' initiative.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Spilornis kinabaluensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22695306A37845898. . Downloaded on 13 October 2015.
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