(1773) Spilornis elgini.
THE DARK ANDAMAN SERPENT-EAGLE.
Spilornis elgini Tytler, J. A. S. B., p. 87 (1863) (South Andaman Island). Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 361.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. A very dark chocolate-brown bird, much darker both above and below than any race of cheela; the crown and crest, however, are less black, more brown than in that bird and the crest is decidedly shorter; chin, throat and breast are all dark brown, the chin and throat occasionally almost blackish-brown; the abdomen, flanks and, sometimes, the lower breast are ocellated with white but have no adjoining black patches above or below ; the tail has two narrow pale bands and a narrow pale tip ; the primaries and secondaries have numerous brown bars a little paler than the darker parts, generally almost invisible on the secondaries.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright yellow; bill pale horny, bluish-horny or fleshy, darker on the culmen; cere, lores and orbital region bright or lemon-yellow ; legs and feet yellow.
Measurements. Wings 344 to 368 mm.; tail 215 to 241 mm.; tarsus about 81 to 84 mm. (once 75) ; culmen 36 to 38 mm.
Young birds have the head-feathers white or fulvous-white with dark centres on the crown; streaked darker on face and throat; the breast is finely barred with dusky and the dark brown feathers of the upper parts are fringed with white and sometimes with a few white spots; the wings are much more profusely spotted with white in the young than in the adult.
Possibly there is no stage in which the young have pure white under parts as in the cheela group.
Habits. Apparently much the same as those of the preceding species.