Great Nicobar Serpent-eagle Spilornis klossi


Justification of Red List category
This recently recognised species is believed to have a small and declining population, although it is not as scarce as previously reported. Increased settlement has led to increased pressure on natural resources, and planned development projects could severely affect suitable habitat within its very small range, although its population is not regarded as severely fragmented or restricted to a few locations, hence it is classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as common (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Trend justification
A population decline, as yet unquantified, is suspected on the basis of rates of habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to the islands of Great Nicobar (including Pulo Kunji), Little Nicobar, Menchal, Pilo Milo and Treis in the South Nicobar island group, Nicobar islands, India (BirdLife International 2001, A. P. Zaibin in litt. 2012). There is some confusion over records in 1993, when it was reported to be probably one of the rarest raptors in the country and rarely seen in the Great Nicobar island, because this has not been the impression of other fieldworkers. Following surveys in 2009-2011, it has been described as uncommon (A. P. Zaibin in litt. 2012).


It is found in mixed evergreen forest, and is seen most frequently in the canopy, but also occurs in grassland and regenerating habitats, from sea-level to 100 m (A. P. Zaibin in litt. 2012). It is often seen near inland water bodies (S. Pande in litt. 2016).


Increased settlement of the islands has led to increased pressure on natural resources, and planned development projects could severely affect the habitat of this species. The use of pesticides and insecticides is increasing which could threaten the species (S. Pande in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the size of the population. Regularly monitor the population at selected sites across its range. Investigate its abundance in forest at different levels of perturbation. Protect significant areas of intact forest in the Nicobar islands. Fully investigate the possible impact of development programs and mitigate against their impacts.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Crosby, M., Mahood, S., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J

Pande, S., Zaibin, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Spilornis klossi. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/great-nicobar-serpent-eagle-spilornis-klossi on 09/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 09/12/2023.