Simeulue Serpent Eagle - Spilornis abbotti | The Eagle Directory

Simeulue Serpent Eagle - Spilornis abbotti

Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Spilornis
Species: S. abbotti

Simeulue Serpent Eagles are small raptors endemic to the island of Simeulue, 125 km northwest from Sumatra. Relatively little is known about them and their classification is under debate, since some authorities consider them a subspecies of Spilornis cheela (Crested Serpent Eagle) but others do not.

Physical Description:

Simeulue Serpent Eagles are a dark purplish-brown from above and have small white spots along the shoulders and black crown. Their crest is short and bushy, characteristic of serpent eagles, and the underside is brown with white streaking along the breast and fine white barring along the flanks, belly, and thighs. The primary feathers are black and the tail has a gray-white central band and a white tip. The lores, eyes, cere, and unfeathered legs are yellow.

Juveniles are undescribed.


Length: 49-54 cm
Wingspan: 108-120 cm

Habitat and Distribution:

They live in forests from 0-250 meters above sea level.

They are endemic to Simeulue island, 120 km northwest of Sumatra, from 3°N to 2°N. Adults are non-migratory. Their total island range is 1,844 km² and the population is estimated to be in the hundreds, though there is no actual concrete data.

Diet and Hunting:

No information.


No information.


Simeulue Serpent Eagles are most likely under threat from habitat loss, since forests are cleared for oil, coconut palm, and clove plantations, in addition to other types of agriculture. There is no official classification, due to the fact BirdLife International considers them subspecies of Spilornis cheela (see below Taxonomy).


Spilornis abbotti is considered a subspecies of Spilornis cheela (Crested Serpent Eagle) by many authorities, but Ferguson-Lees, James and David A. Christe (2001) classified it as a full species. Therefore, S. abbotti is tentatively listed as a separate race here.

Other Names:

Simalur Serpent Eagle, Simeulueslangeørn (Danish), Simeulue maduhaugas (Estonian), Serpentaire de Simeulue (French), Elangular Simeulue (Indonesian), Serpentario di Simuelue (Italian), Shimaruakanmuriwashi (Japanese), Wezojad falisty (Polish), Hadiar vlnkavý (Slovak).

Global Raptor Information Network. 2012. Species account: Simeulue Serpent Eagle Spilornis abbotti. Downloaded from on 24 Feb. 2012
Ferguson-Lees, James, and Christie, David A. Raptors of the World. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.