Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucogaster
Name: White-bellied Sea Eagle
Soars and glides with wings pressed forward and in pronounced V. Distinctive shape, with slim head, bulging secondaries and short wedge-shaped tail. Adult has white head and underparts. grey upperparts, white underwing-coverts constrasting with black remiges, and mainly white tail. Juvenile has pale head, dark brest band, whitish tail with dark subteminal band and pale wedge on inner primaries. Immatures show misxture of juvenile and adult features.
Size in cm:
Size in Inch
black (Bird may have more colors)
The white-bellied sea eagle is an opportunistic carnivore and consumes a wide variety of animal prey, including carrion. It often catches a fish by flying low over the water and grasping it in its talons. It prepares for the strike by holding its feet far forward (almost under its chin) and then strikes backwards while simultaneously beating its wings to lift upwards. Generally only one foot is used to seize prey. The white-bellied sea eagle may also dive at a 45 degree angle from its perch and briefly submerge to catch fish near the water surface. While hunting over water on sunny days, it often flies directly into the sun or at right angles to it, seemingly to avoid casting shadows over the water and hence alerting potential prey. Seizing waterborne prey The white-bellied sea eagle hunts mainly aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles and sea snakes, but it takes birds, such as little penguins, Eurasian coots and shearwaters, and mammals (including flying foxes) as well. In the Bismarck Archipelago it has been reported feeding on two species of possum, the northern common cuscus and common spotted cuscus. It is a skilled hunter, and will attack prey up to the size of a swan. They also feed on carrion such as dead sheep, birds and fish found along the waterline, as well as raiding fishing nets and following cane harvesters.
Habit and habited:
Frequently soars, circling at great heights. Often seen on a prominent perch, usually near water. Chiefly coasts and offshore islands.
Loud, far-carrying and goose-like honking, ank... ank... ank, and faster and more duck-like ka, ka-kaaa.
Birds of Prey
The White-bellied Sea Eagle is a large bird of prey in the family which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers.
It is resident from India through southeast Asia to Australia on coasts and major waterways. This large eagle is very distinctive. The adult has white head, breast under wing coverts and tail. The upper-parts are grey and the black under-wing flight feathers contrast with the white coverts. The tail is short and wedge-shaped as in all Heraclitus species.