34. Spizaetus andamanensis

No. 34(bis). Spizaetus Andamanensis.* Tytler.

The Andaman Hawk-Eagle.

I have never myself seen this species in a wild state, but my friend, Col. Tytler, has furnished me with the following note in regard to it.

Dimension Adult Male Adult Female
Length 24.0 25.25
Expanse 40.5 40.45
Wing 13.75 14.25
Which primary longest 5th 5th
Amount by which other primaries fall short of longest 1st 4 1st 3.75
Amount by which other primaries fall short of longest 2nd 1.0 2nd 1.5
Length of tail from vent 10.15 10.25
By now much longest tail feathers exceed shortest 0.5 1.5
Tarsus, (feathered to feet,) 3.65 3.6
Foot, greatest length 3.3 3.45
width 3.2 2.8
Mid toe 1.95 1.8
Its claw, along curve 0.85 0.85
Hind toe 1.1 1.1
Its claw, along curve 1.1 1.1
Inner toe 1.05 1.3
Its claw, along curve 1.1 1.1
Bill, straight (from edge of cere) 1.2 1.23
„ along curve, do. 1.37 1.4
„ from gape, 1.65 1.6
„ width at gape 1.1 1.1
„ height at margin of cere 0.65 0.55
Length of cere 0.4 0.35
Distance by which lower tail coverts fall short of end of tail 3.8 3.9

" Spizaetus Andamanensis, Tytler. First, male adult; head with the traces of a crest, and of a light brown colour, striped with dark brown; each feather is, for the basal three-fourths white, and one-fourth from the tip light brown with a longitudinal dark brown stripe in the centre, which gives an appearance of light brown to the head, but on the feathers being in the slightest ruffled, the head assumes an albescent appearance. Back, wings and tail brown, but from the greater portion of the base of each feather being white or light brown, the upper surface of the bird assumes a mottled appearance of brown and white, the brown being darkest in the centre of the back, quill feathers and tail. The greatest portion of the inner web of the quill feathers is white, which gives a white appearance to the under surface of the wing which is most striking when the bird is flying. The primaries are dark towards their points, but all the wing feathers are more or loss conspicuously banded with four or five dark brown bars. This is also the case with the feathers of the tail. All the under surface is white, streaked with longitudinal brown marks on the breast, flanks and centre of abdomen. Some of the under wing coverts have three or four dark brown bands, and immediately under the bend the feathers of the wing are streaked with rufous ; this is also the case with the thighs and some of the lower tail coverts, and white feathers of the densely feathered tarsus. The toes are yellowish, with black claws; cere greenish slaty ; bill dark blackish slaty; irides, dark reddish brown. The two outermost lateral tail feathers, when observed from beneath have a very albescent appearance, with dark dots near the tips, and traces of spots of the same colour at intervals going towards the base.

" Two female adults very similar to the last, but the markings on the lower wing coverts are more, and those on the abdomen less numerous than in No. 1; but the thighs and tarsi are richly banded with rufous brown, and white.

" These birds are not uncommon amongst the mangrove swamps of the Andamans ; but I have never seen them soaring, or even flying about, until disturbed. They are with great difficulty obtained, for it is impossible for a boat to approach them in such situations, and equally so to get at them by land, for the mangrove trees grow in the water, and when the tide goes out, the soil is too soft to bear the weight of a man, so I found it very difficult to procure specimens of this by no means uncommon bird. I have never seen more than one or two together. The Andaman bird is considerably smaller than the Indian S. Limnaetus to which is bears a striking resemblance."

Capt. Beavan had the following remarks on this species in the Ibis for 1867 - :

" This species was originally described in the ' Proceedings' of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for 1865, p. 112. The following description is taken from specimens in Col. Tytler's collection.

Length, 25.5 in. Wing, 13.5 in. Tarsus, 3.5 in. Tail 10.25 in. Length 24.5 in. Wing 13.5 in. Tarsus 3.5 in. Tail 10.25 in. Length 23.12 in Wing 14 in Tarsus 3.75 in Tail 18.25 in. " Bill and claws, slaty horn coloured; legs feathered to the toes, which latter are of a dirty yellow colour. The tail usually has seven transverse bars of a darker hue than the rest. The general colour of the bird is creamy white, somewhat inclining to rufous on the head, upper tail coverts, and interior of thighs. The wings, tail, and lower nape are brown, the head in some specimens is slightly marked with longitudinal brown striae, and the under wing coverts of all, spotted with the same. This species will probably be classed next to Spizaetus Limnaetus of Lower Bengal and the Burmese countries, from which, however, it differs conspicuously in the colour of the Plumage."

The specimens that I have seen, were minatures of S. Caligatus, except that the heads, necks and under parts, were nearly spotless yellowish white, a sign doubtless of nonage. There were spots and dark central stripes, but they were few and far between. The tails had broad, dark brown, subterminal bands, narrowly tipped with yellowish white and besides these four (not seven, as in those described by Capt. Beavan,) broad, transverse dark brown bars.

Is it possible that this species should be identical with S. Lanceolatus, Bp. Consp. Av. I. p. 28, of which Wallace gives the Celebes and Sula Islands as the habitat ? The dimensions are not very dissimilar.

* In these notes, I intend to include, where I have such by me, brief descriptions and notices of Andamanese and Cingalese species, not given in Dr. Jerdon's work.

My Scrap Book
Hume, Allan Octavian, ed. My Scrap Book: Or, Rough Notes on Indian Oology and Ornithology. Vol. 1. 1869.
Title in Book: 
34. Spizaetus andamanensis
Book Author: 
Allan Octavian Hume
Page No: 
Common name: 
Andaman Hawk Eagle
Nisaetus cirrhatus andamanensis
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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