White-Bellied Sea Eagle

Haliaetus leucogaster

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other names
White-Breasted Sea Eagle

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DESCRIPTION

Male: 760mm in length. Wings, back and base of tail dark ash-grey. Tail broad and tipped in white. Head, neck and underparts, including the undertail are white, often with dark grey shaft streaks. Eye brown. Beak blue-grey with black hooked tip, the cere is grey. Feet are off-white with huge black talons.

Female: 840mm in length. Appearance as per male.

Juvenile
: Upperparts of first year birds are light brown with pale buff feather tips, tail light brown with white base, breast brown with buff edges to feathers, belly mottled brown and buff. Second year birds mostly slate-brown above and light brown below, head and tail almost all white. Full adult plumage is acquired at three to four years of age.

Voice: Loud clanging voice or gooselike "cank-cank-cank". More vocal during breeding season.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle can be found throughout coastal Australia. It also extends to inland lakes and waterways such as the Murray River and its larger tributaries. It is a large, graceful eagle that is commonly seen soaring over or near water as it hunts for prey which includes fish, waterfowl, tortoises, sea-snakes, etc. It is a sedentary bird that occupies the same territory year about with a permanent mate. Breeding season is between May and October. A huge nest is built out of sticks and lined with leaf litter, often around 30 metres above ground level. Nest can be build in trees, on cliff edges or on rocks and is used annually for long periods before being replaced. Two eggs are usually laid and are incubated mainly by the female, with the male relieving for short periods throughout the day. Incubations is for approximately 6 weeks and young fledge between 9 and 10 weeks of age.


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