Other Names (World)
White-bellied Sea-eagle, White-bellied Fish-Eagle, White-breasted Sea-Eagle, White-breasted Fish-Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
70 - 90 cm
Wingspan: 188 - 200 cm
Hal-i-ae-et-us - Gk, hals, sea; Gk, aetos, eagle: lëuc-o-gas'-ter - Gk, leucos, white; Gk, gaster, belly
As an aid to identification in flight the following silhouettes may be of assistance
Australia (B), Bangladesh (B), Brunei Darussalam (B), Cambodia (B), China (mainland) (B), Hong Kong (China) (B), India (B), Indonesia (B), Laos (B), Malaysia (B), Myanmar (B), Papua New Guinea (B), Philippines (B), Singapore (B), Sri Lanka (B), Thailand (B), Timor-Leste (B) (NB), Vietnam (B).
Common around most of the coastline. Scarce along coasts near major cities.
Usually coastal, foreshores, mudflats, sand-pits, headlands, beaches, bays, estuaries, mangroves, seasonally flooded inland swamps, lagoons and floodplains. Often far inland on large pools of major rivers.
Vagrant to Christmas Island, Taiwan (China).
India and Sri Lanka through south-eastern Asia, Philippines, Wallacea, New Guinea and Bismarcks to Australia and Tasmania.
Throughout coastal mainland Australia and Tasmania and about some of the larger lakes and rivers.
Estimated population is 1,000 - 10,000 (2010).
Mammals, tortoises, sea-snakes, fish, eels, larger crustaceans and offal.
A harsh, nasal, far-carrying, goose-like honk, 'ank, ak-ak, ank, ak-ak....' or two birds in chorus, 'ank-ank-arkakak-ank-akakak-ak'.
Usually May - October.
A huge structure composed of sticks, lined with leaves, high up in a tall tree, on ledges of cliffs or on the ground on off-shore islands. The same nest is often used for years in succession.
2; plain white; oval; about 71 x 53 mm. Incubation: about 42 days; mainly by female, but male relieves for periods during the day.
Semi-altricial, nidifugous. Fledge in 63 - 70 days.
Sanford's Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi) is retained as a species in contrast to Debus (2006), who proposed on the basis of molecular work, that sanfordi be treated as a subspecies of White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster). The BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group consider the considerable differences in morphology, size and proportion, as indicated by Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001), argue in favour of retaining sanfordi as a full species.
Forms superspecies with Sanford's Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi).
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Smaller. Immatures with adults. Has a bold dark eye mark. Wings are slimmer, arched and have a black 'wrist'-mark.
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax)
Larger. Juveniles with juveniles and immatures. Blacker. Tail is longer and diamond-wedge shaped. Legs are fully feathered.