Scientific Name: Spilornis cheela
Malay Name: Helang-Kuik Biasa
Chinese Name: 蛇雕
Range: Found from Indian subcontinent to southern China and Southeast Asia with some northern populations wintering south to Southeast Asia
Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: cheela, melanotis, spilogaster, burmanicus, ricketti, malayensis, davisoni, perplexus, hoya, rutherfordi, pallidus, richmondi, natunensis, sipora, batu, asturinus, abbotti, bido, baweanus, palawanensis, minimus.
Local Subspecies: malayensis, burmanicus
Size: 56-74 cm
Identification: Adult has mostly dark brownish plumage, black tail with broad white central band, prominent yellow cere, facial skin and eyes, short blackish crest and small whitish spots/bars on lower breasts and belly. Broad white band across underwing contrasting with broad black trailing edge very prominent when seen in flight from below. Juvenile resembles adult but has duller upperparts with whitish fringes and whitish underparts with dark streaks.
Habitat: Forest, forest edge, secondary growth, wooded area, mangroves, gardens and parks.
Behaviour/Ecology: Feeds primarily on reptiles like snakes, lizards and frogs.
Local Status: Uncommon resident
Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)
Location: Central Catchment Forest, Malcolm Park, Bidadari, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Chinese Garden, Kent Ridge Park, Sungei Buloh, Sembawang, Springleaf and Pulau Ubin.
- “How to start birding in Singapore?”. An article by Eldon Ng. (Birding Starter Pack)
- Local extinctions of Singapore birds (Science)
- RAP301: What is that raptor? (ID Articles)
Featured reports: Mar 2022, Apr 2022, May 2022, Jun 2022, Jul 2022, Aug 2022, Sep 2022, Oct 2022, Nov 2022, Dec 2022, Jan 2023, Feb 2023, Mar 2023, Apr 2023
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link
eBird Species page: eBird (Crested Serpent-Eagle)
BirdLife International. (2016). Spilornis cheela. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22695293A95221642.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023
Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.
Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.
Singapore Birds Project. (n.d.). Crested Serpent Eagle. Retrieved on May 31, 2023 from https://singaporebirds.com/species/crested-serpent-eagle.