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Central Nicobar Serpent Eagle
Spilornis minimus

Status: Data Deficient

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Central Nicobar Serpent-eagle, Small Serpent-eagle, Nicobar Crested Serpent-eagle.

Spilornis minimus
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Distribution: Indomalayan. Endemic to central NICOBAR ISLANDS (Terasa Dwip, Camorta, Katchall, Trinkat, and Nancowrie).

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: This form has been regarded as a subspecies of the widespread Crested Serpent Eagle (S. cheela, by most authors (Stresemann and Amadon 1979, Amadon and Bull 1989, Sibley and Monroe 1990, del Hoyo et al. 1994), but Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001), Dickinson (2003), and Rasmussen and Anderton (2005) treated it as a full species. They are followed here, pending a molecular genetics study of the entire genus Spilornis and because the different insular populations formerly assigned to S. cheela may have distinct, pressing conservation problems that might be overlooked if they are treated as subspecies.

Movements: Probably sedentary.

Habitat and Habits: Found in forest near rivers, but not frequenting the shore or clearings; occurs mostly below 100 m (Ali and Ripley 1978).

Food and Feeding Behavior: Stomachs of specimens contained remains of lizards, portions of a chicken, and a crab (Ali and Ripley 1978).

Breeding: No information.

Conservation: Probably at considerable risk from habitat loss. If the population is as small as the size of its range would imply, it might be Endangered or Vulnerable. This species is not classified by BirdLife International, who regard it as a subspecies of S. cheela.

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) suggested that the population may not be as high as 100 individuals, based on the small size (600 kmē) of the range.

Important References: 
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. Crested 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.

Hathwar, Vishnupriya

Last modified: 6/11/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Central Nicobar Serpent Eagle Spilornis minimus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Sep. 2020

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