Spilornis elgini 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Spilornis elgini (Blyth, 1863)
Common Name(s):
English Andaman Serpent-eagle, Andaman Dark Serpent Eagle, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Andaman Serpent-Eagle, Dark Serpent-eagle
Spanish Culebrera de Andamán
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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Davidar, P., Koparde, P., Praveen, J. & Sivaperuman, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Mahood, S., Taylor, J., Westrip, J.
This species has a small range, in which it is thought to be quite common, but may have a very small population with a fragmented subpopulation structure. The forests of the interior of the Andaman Islands are coming under increasing pressure from agriculture and development schemes and this species is likely to decline concurrently. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Spilornis elgini is endemic to the Andaman Islands, Indiawidely distributed from the North Andaman to the Little Andaman Islands (Davidar et al. 2007, Koparde and Manchi 2013, Rajeshkumar et al. 2015). It is considered fairly common across its range and preferred habitat (BirdLife International 2001, Vijayan 2009, Clark et al. 2017).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:19600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Although considered quite common in its optimal habitat, the overall population size may in fact be quite small. A total of 62 individuals were recorded on 25 of 45 islands with a total area 3700 km2 surveyed in 1993-94 (Davidar et al. 1996). Therefore, its density has been considered to be not more than 1 or 2 individuals per km2 (P. Davidar in litt. 2016) with the total number of mature individuals considered to be 4,000 or less (P. Davidar in litt. 2016). Therefore, the population size is placed here in the range 1,000-4,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  There are no data on population trends; however; the species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to habitat degradation and hunting.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1000-4000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species occurs primarily in closed canopy wet evergreen and semi-evergreen forests in the interior of islands (though it does extend to the coasts in some areas [P. Davidar in litt. 2016]), where it is quite common (Rajeshkumar et al. 2015, P. Davidar in litt. 2016), but it can be found in other habitats, including degraded forests (Koparde and Manchi 2013), agricultural land, and potentially wetland and seashore (Rajeshkumar et al. 2015). It is known to feed on rats, lizards and snakes (Rao et al. 2013), as well as crabs and prawns (Pande et al. 2009). It appears to be ecologically separated from Crested Serpent-eagle S. cheela, which inhabits coastal forests on the same island.

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

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although forest remains extensive on the Andamans, loss and fragmentation of cover continues and is perhaps accelerating. The human population on larger islands, which are suitable for the species (Davidar et al. 2007), is rising rapidly and habitat is consequently under mounting pressure from agriculture, grazing and logging. Hunting is also apparently common on the islands and may affect this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972. The Department of Environment and Forests, Andaman & Nicobar Islands has initiated steps to conserve the endemic and threatened bird species of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the Zoological Survey of India is monitoring the bird population of this archipelago (C. Sivaperuman in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct research on the species ecology, especially breeding biology and territory size (P. Davidar in litt. 2016, P. Koparde in litt. 2016). Survey to assess the size of the population. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites across its range. Investigate its abundance in forest at different levels of perturbation. Protect significant areas of intact closed canopy forest in the Andaman islands. Quantify the impact of hunting on populations. Conduct awareness campaigns involving local residents to engender pride in the species and prevent hunting.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Spilornis elgini. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22695323A118207916. . Downloaded on 26 May 2018.
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