Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae)

Crested Serpent-eagle (Spilornis cheela) - HBW 2, p. 133

French: Serpentaire bacha German: Schlangenweihe Spanish: Culebrera Chiíla
Other common names: Small/Nicobar (Crested) Serpent-eagle (minimus); Ryukyu Serpent-eagle (perplexus); Simeulue Serpent-eagle (abbotti); Nias Serpent-eagle (asturinus); Mentawai Serpent-eagle (sipora); Natuna Serpent-eagle (natunensis)

Taxonomy: Falco Cheela Latham, 1790, India = Lucknow.
Complex genus, with taxonomy extremely confused and tentative; complete revision and extensive study of relationships and species limits required; research priorities include field work on biology, especially with regard to prey and vocalizations, and laboratory analyses of DNA. Present species currently considered to form superspecies with S. klossi, S. kinabaluensis, S. rufipectus and S. holospilus, but may be conspecific with any or all of these taxa; any or all of races perplexus, abbotti, asturinus, sipora and natunensis may.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Falco Cheela Latham, 1790, India = Lucknow.
Complex genus, with taxonomy extremely confused and tentative; complete revision and extensive study of relationships and species limits required; research priorities include field work on biology, especially with regard to prey and vocalizations, and laboratory analyses of DNA. Present species currently considered to form superspecies with S. klossi, S. kinabaluensis, S. rufipectus and S. holospilus, but may be conspecific with any or all of these taxa; any or all of races perplexus, abbotti, asturinus, sipora and natunensis may be valid species; different treatment of these two groups is essentially arbitrary in most cases; extraordinary size differences suggest that some island races probably merit recognition as full species. Situation in Nicobar Is particularly complicated and uncertain, although presence of two different species of Spilornis generally agreed upon: race davisoni said to occur by some authors; race minimus often considered separate species, usually including S. klossi. Several further races have been described. Twenty one subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • cheela (Latham, 1790) - N India and Nepal.
  • melanotis (Jerdon, 1844) - India S from Gujarat and Gangetic Plain.
  • spilogaster (Blyth, 1852) - Sri Lanka.

     See all 21 subspecies
  • cheela (Latham, 1790) - N India and Nepal.
  • melanotis (Jerdon, 1844) - India S from Gujarat and Gangetic Plain.
  • spilogaster (Blyth, 1852) - Sri Lanka.
  • burmanicus Swann, 1920 - Burma, SW China, Thailand and Indochina.
  • davisoni Hume, 1873 - Andaman Is; possibly also Nicobar Is.
  • minimus Hume, 1873 - C Nicobar Is.
  • ricketti W. L. Sclater, 1919 - N Vietnam and SC & SE China.
  • perplexus Swann, 1922 - S Ryukyu Is.
  • hoya Swinhoe, 1866 - Taiwan.
  • rutherfordi Swinhoe, 1870 - Hainan.
  • palawanensis W. L. Sclater, 1919 - Palawan group (Philippines).
  • pallidus Walden, 1872 - lowlands of N Borneo.
  • richmondi Swann, 1922 - S Borneo.
  • natunensis Chasen, 1934 - Natuna Is and Belitung I (off W & SW Borneo).
  • malayensis Swann, 1920 - Malay Peninsula (from S Tenasserim), nearby Anambas Is and N Sumatra.
  • batu Meyer de Schauensee & Ripley, 1939 - S Sumatra and Batu Is (off W Sumatra).
  • abbotti Richmond, 1903 - Simeulue I (off W Sumatra).
  • asturinus A. B. Meyer, 1884 - Nias I (off W Sumatra).
  • sipora Chasen & Kloss, 1926 - Mentawai Is (off W Sumatra).
  • bido (Horsfield, 1821) - Java and Bali.
  • baweanus Oberholser, 1917 - Bawean I (off N Java).