1219. Spilornis elgini.
The Andaman Serpent-Eagle.
Haematornis elgini, Tytler, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xxxii, p. 87 (1863); id. Ibis, 1863, p. 118; Beavan, Ibis, 1807, p. 314. Spilornis bacha, apud Hume, Rough Notes,p. 230, pt.; Ball, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 275 ; id. S. F. i, p. 52 ; nec Daudin. Spilornis elgini, Walden, Ibis, 1873, p. 299; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 144; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 291; Gurney, Ibis, 1878, p. 101; Hume, Cat. no. 39 sex.
Coloration. Lores and space round eye naked, more so than in S. cheela, only bearing a few scattered whitish hairs ; crown and nape black, the feathers more or less fringed with brown and their basal two-thirds white; plumage above and below dark chocolate-brown, with a slight ruddy gloss above; a few minute white specks of irregular form on the upper wing-coverts and upper tail-coverts, and frequently on the back and scapulars, and larger round white spots on the breast (in many cases extending to the upper breast), abdomen, under tail- and wing-coverts, flanks and axillaries ; no barring on the breast; moustachial band and ear-coverts blackish ; quills blackish brown, with from 3 to 5 narrow broken cross-bars, pale brown above, whitish below, sometimes almost obsolete; tail black, with two pale cross-bars, whity brown above, whitish below, the posterior the broader, but less than an inch wide.
Young birds appear only to differ in being rather paler, with the feathers of the head, above and below, mostly white; the crown and nape with brown subterminal bands, and the chin with brown streaks. There are three pale .cross-bands on the tail, that in front the narrowest. In a very large series now in the British Museum, not one has white underparts like the young of S. cheela.
Bill pale horny, bluish horny, or fleshy, darker on the culmen; cere, lores, and orbital region bright or lemon yellow; irides bright yellow; feet and legs yellow (Hume).
Length about 22; tail 9.25; wing 14; tarsus 3.25; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. The Andaman Islands; there is also one specimen in the British Museum from the Nicobars.