Bawean Serpent Eagle - Spilornis baweanus | The Eagle Directory

Bawean Serpent Eagle - Spilornis baweanus

Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Spilornis
Species: S. baweanus

Bawean Serpent Eagles are critically endangered raptors that live on the island of Bawean in the Java Sea. There are only 60-75 individuals thought to currently exist, and they are under threat from logging, burning, and recreational hunting.

Physical Description:

Bawean Serpent Eagles are dark in color with a short, bushy crest. The eyes, cere, and featherless legs are yellow, and the throat, sides of the neck, and chest are brown. The flanks are barred with white and the tail and the primary feathers have white tips.

They are highly vocal birds; in one study, they were often found calling to each other.


Wingspan: 32-65 cm

Habitat and Distribution:

Bawean Serpent Eagles are the only diurnal raptors that live on the island of Bawean in the Java Sea, 200 km north of Java. They are endemic to Bawean and its 190 km². They live in the tall forest on the island, but do not venture out over the ocean surrounding them and seem to avoid mangrove and coastal forests. There are only 60-75 Bawean Serpent Eagles remaining across a stretch of 92 km², which is one of the smallest distribution ranges of any raptor.

Diet and Hunting:

Most likely snakes and lizards.


Bawean Serpent Eagles may breed during the wet season, in May-June.


Recreational hunting, something relatively new to the island, is the greatest threat to the eagles. In addition, the two reserves on the island are offshore where the eagles do not live, hence they do nothing to protect them. Illegal logging and burning is common on Bawean. The bird has been listed as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International.


Spilornis baweanus was previously "lumped" with Spilornis cheela (Crested Serpent Eagle) as S. c. baweanus, but it is now considered a separate species.

Other Names:

Baweani maduhaugas (Estonian), Serpentaire de Bawean (French), Elangular Bawean (Indonesian), Serpentario di Bawean (Italian), Hadiar baweanský (Slovak).

Other Multimedia:

None available.

Global Raptor Information Network. 2011. Species account: Bawean Serpent Eagle Spilornis baweanus. Downloaded from on 28 Jul. 2011
Ferguson-Lees, James, and Christie, David A. Raptors of the World. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.