Philippine Serpent-eagle (Spilornis holospilus)
This Philippine serpent-eagle paid us a visit this morning and rested awhile on a lofty hardwood tree before circling off and resuming its hunt for prey.
I’d had my eye on this perch in a jamayaon tree this morning as the tarictic hornbill could be heard around the property and this is one of its favored spots. Instead we were treated to a nice view of this raptor and I was able to get these shots from my bedroom window.
The Philippine serpent-eagle is endemic to the Philippine archipelago. This medium-sized raptor is 50 cm in length with a wingspan over a meter long. The call is a series of modulated whistles which can be heard clearly as they soar overhead searching for food. The serpent-eagle’s diet consists, as its name suggests, of snakes but also lizards, amphibians, and other live prey.
It has a variety of habitats but seems to favor riparian woodland, which would describe our riverside backyard with its tall hardwood trees along a river quite well. While we don’t see this raptor daily like the brahminy kite they are a common sight on Siargao in their preferred habitat.
There are an estimated 10,000 Philippine serpent eagles in the wild and their conservation status is ‘least concern’.