‘’Conservation of the Andaman Serpent-eagle Spilornis elgini in the Andaman Islands: Phase – I’’: Awarded to Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Coimbatore. Principal Investigator: Dr. Shirish S. Manchi.

This is our first project away from the mainland in the Andaman islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal. It is a 2-year project involving the endemic Andaman Serpent-eagle.

Globally the Andaman Serpent-eagle Spilornis elgini is classified under Near Threatened category in the IUCN red data book. As per Birdlife International (2014) Andaman Serpent-eagle qualifies to be in Near Threatened category because of its moderately small range, and that the habitat of the Andaman Serpent-eagle) in Andaman islands are under tremendous pressure from agriculture and development activities and also because the species is likely to decline concurrently.

Dr. Shirish Manchi
Dr. Shirish Manchi

Existing data regarding its population, distribution and ecology is scarce. The documentation on this species describes its occurrences on different islands and the species is always described as common. As every other raptor, it lacks focused studies. Forests of Andaman Islands are the only known primary habitat of this species. As the forests in these islands are under tremendous threat of logging it is important to know about the present population of these raptors. Also hunting reports of these eagles from the islands have come forth and we do not know how all of these disturbances are affecting the species. Dr. Manchi feels it is essential to have a species-specific study to understand the population, distribution and habitat of the Andaman Serpent-eagle, and also to know the potential threats it is facing. This information will help us formulate and advocate the conservation measures for survival of this raptor species endemic to Andaman Islands. As collecting all this information is a long time process the study is designed to be executed in phases. In the preliminary Phase – I, we propose to understand population distribution, abundance and habitat of the Andaman Serpent-eagle and the threats to the species in the Andaman Islands. This information will help us to design immediate conservation measures.  During Phase – II along with advocating the conservation measures designed during Phase – I the breeding biology and habitat requirements of the species will be studied to improve the existing conservation strategies and to come out with a species management plan. Phase – III will be advocacy and implementation of the species management plan for survival of the Andaman Serpent-eagle.

Dr. Manchi’s objectives for the proposed study (Phase I) are:

  1. Estimate population abundance and distribution of the Andaman-serpent Eagle on the large islands in Andaman.
  2. Identify potential threats to the Andaman Serpent-eagle in Andaman Islands.
  3. Recommend immediate conservation measures to ensure survival of viable populations of the Andaman Serpent-eagle and also identify the key sites for implementation of Phase – II

Sayli Sawant in field
Sayli Sawant in field

Sayli Sawant and Shivkumari Patel in field
Sayli Sawant and Shivkumari Patel in field