White Bellied Sea Eagle

The White Bellied Sea Eagle, also known as the White Breasted Sea Eagle, is mainly found near coastline as their name suggests. They are normally found in pairs and live close to water ways. The Eagle is found in many parts of Australia and numerous folk tales have been there about this beautiful bird. This is Australia’s second largest Bird of Prey. They are giant sized kites.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Scientific Name

The scientific name of White Bellied Sea Eagle is Haliaeetus leucogaster.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Description

This Sea Eagle is large and huge.

Color:  The White Bellied Sea Eagle has a combination of white and dark grey color on its body. It has white color on the head, rump and under parts. Its back and wings are dark grey colored. The large hooked bill is grey with dark tip and the eyes are dark brown in color. The legs and feet are creamy white and they have black talons. These birds have dark colored tails with a whitish tip. The irides are dark brown and the cere is lead grey.

Height: Male Eagles are generally 70-80 centimeters long. Female Eagles are slightly larger and are about 80- 90 centimeters long.

Wingspan: The Wingspan ranges from 1.78 to 2.2 meters.

Weight: Male White Bellied Sea Eagles weigh around 1.8 to 3 kg. Females weigh around 2.5 to 4.5 kg.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Picture

Picture 1 – White Bellied Sea Eagle

White Bellied Sea Eagle Distribution

The White Bellied Sea Eagles are found in Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia and South East Asia. In India they are found in Northern parts of Gujarat and also the Lakshwadeep Islands. Not only India but many Asian Countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia are inhabited by the Sea Eagle.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Habitat

The White Bellied Sea Eagle is usually seen perched high in a tree or flying over the waterways and adjacent land. Birds form permanent pairs. They are mostly seen in coastal areas. They are generally territorial, though it may travel to various other places as well. Their range usually varies around 130 sq kilometers and is often shared with other Sea Eagle Pairs for hunting. Each bird nests within a couple of kilometers.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Behavior

The White Bellied Sea Eagles have some unique behavioral patterns.

  • The White Bellied Sea Eagles are territorial but some are nomadic by nature.
  •  The species is usually monogamous but if their mate dies then they seek for a new mate.
  • The White Bellied Sea Eagle is carnivorous.
  • Sea Eagles glide high with slow flapping of wings.
  • They generally tend to dwell in places where there is no human disturbance.
  • Similar to “Roosting” birds they are mostly seen in their favorite trees.
  • White Bellied Sea Eagles are commonly seen in warm mornings, near the coasts holding their wings in a v-shape.
  • White Bellied Sea Eagles are aggressive.

Pictures of White Bellied Sea Eagle

Picture 2 – White Bellied Sea Eagle Picture

White Bellied Sea Eagle Calls

They have typical loud “goose-like” honking calls, which are heard mainly during the breeding season.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Diet

The Sea Eagles are very fond of fish and so they often glide downwards to catch their prey. Many types of fish, rats and lizards are eaten by these eagles. Sea eagles are often found scavenging around inshore fishing boats. They generally glide and attack the fishes.

It is fond of fish, turtles and sea snakes. It flies over water bodies and grabs its prey with the help of its talon. They are also known to eat birds, small mammals and reptiles and dead carcasses along the edge of water. At times they attack the small birds, to snatch their prey. It is attacking by nature and can attack its prey up to the size of a swan. They generally feed in pairs or in family groups.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Reproduction

During winter or summer in Australia one or two eggs are laid in a nest which is made out of an outer skin of sticks. Old nests are renovated prior to the laying of eggs.  The Sea Eagles generally choose tall trees or man-made pylons for nesting. If there are no trees then there are no predators of their eggs, hence nests can be found in shrubs and on rocky areas.

Hatching takes 40-44 days, but often the first to hatch kills the other eggs and hatchlings. White Bellied Sea Eagles begin to breed from 5 years and can live up to 30 years. The eggs are usually oval shaped and dull in color and of 55 centimeters. The female mostly carries out the incubation but the male also takes part in the process.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Life Cycle

Nestling period is of about 95 days. The chicks are covered in white but it turns to brown. The male eagle brings food and the female feeds the chick, but both parents feed the baby as it grows older.

Images of White Bellied Sea Eagle

Picture 3 – White Bellied Sea Eagle Image

White Bellied Sea Eagle Lifespan

The White Bellied Sea Eagles usually live up to thirty years of age.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Conservation Status

The White Bellied Sea Eagle falls under the “least concern” category of IUCN.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Interesting Facts

Some of the interesting facts of the White Bellied Sea Eagle are given below.

  • A study on Birds have revealed that White Bellied Sea Eagles from Australia and Papua New Guinea can be differentiated by their size and further down the south the female birds are comparatively larger.
  • There are less than 500 pairs of these huge birds in Australia now. Their numbers are declining due to poaching and hunting.
  • The White Bellied Sea Eagle is the Guardian Animal of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community.
  • It is also the official Emblem of Booderee National Park and Botanical Gardens.
  • The inhabitants of the Nissan Island in Papua New Guinea worship it and killing is strictly prohibited.
  • The White Bellied Sea Eagle is featured in $10,000 Singapore Note.

White Bellied Sea Eagle Pictures

Here are some of the spectacular pictures of the White Bellied Sea Eagle.

Flying White Bellied Sea Eagle Image

Picture 3 – Flying White Bellied Sea Eagle

Photos of White Bellied Sea Eagle

Picture 5 – White Bellied Sea Eagle Photo

References:

http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Haliaeetus-leucogaster

http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_579_2005-01-05.html

http://www.arkive.org/white-bellied-sea-eagle/haliaeetus-leucogaste

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