The White-bellied sea eagle, with wings wide and feathers white as snow, reigns over the ocean with a regal glow. With piercing eyes that scan the vast expanse, this majestic bird commands the sea with grace and elegance.
Its powerful talons grip the fish it seeks, while its sharp beak tears through the flesh with ease. From high above the waves, it surveys its realm, a symbol of freedom and strength at the helm.
|1||Common name||White-bellied sea eagle|
|2||Scientific name||Haliaeetus leucogaster|
|3||Colour||Dark brown upperparts, white head and underparts, with a distinctive white tail|
|4||Average length||80-90 cm|
|5||Average height||40-50 cm|
|6||Type of bird||Sea eagle|
|7||Found in India in states||Coastal areas of peninsular India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands|
|8||Habitat||Coastal areas, estuaries, and wetlands|
The White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) is a majestic bird of prey found in coastal regions of Australia, Southeast Asia, and India.
The White-bellied sea eagle is a large bird, with a wingspan ranging from 1.8 to 2.2 meters (5.9 to 7.2 feet) and a weight of 2.5 to 4.5 kilograms (5.5 to 9.9 pounds). It has a distinctive hooked beak, sharp talons, and powerful wings, which make it an efficient hunter of fish and other prey in its habitat.
As the name suggests, the White-bellied sea eagle has a white belly, while the rest of its body is dark brown or black. Its head and neck are also white, and it has a prominent, curved beak that is bright yellow. The eyes are a striking pale blue-grey, adding to the bird’s striking appearance.
The White-bellied sea eagle stands at a height of around 70-90 centimeters (27.5-35.4 inches) and has a length of approximately 80-100 centimeters (31.5-39.4 inches) from head to tail. The bird’s impressive wingspan, which allows it to soar high above the water in search of prey, can extend up to 2.2 meters (7.2 feet).
Habitat and Food
The White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) is a large bird of prey that can be found in coastal areas and along waterways throughout much of Southeast Asia and Australia. As a top predator in these habitats, the White-bellied sea eagle plays an important role in the ecosystem.
In terms of habitat, White-bellied sea eagles are typically found near bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and coastal areas. They build their nests in tall trees near the water’s edge, which provides them with a good vantage point for hunting and protecting their young. They are also known to inhabit rocky cliffs near the coast.
White-bellied sea eagles are opportunistic hunters and will eat a wide variety of prey. Their diet can include fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and small mammals such as rodents and bats. They are also known to scavenge on carrion and will occasionally prey on other birds such as ducks or gulls.
When hunting for fish, White-bellied sea eagles will fly over the water, scanning the surface for prey. Once they spot a fish, they will swoop down and snatch it from the water with their talons. They are strong fliers and are able to carry relatively large prey back to their nests.
Nesting and Nurturing
White-bellied sea eagles typically nest in tall trees, close to the water’s edge. They prefer trees that are close to open water, such as rivers, lakes, or coastal cliffs. They usually build their nests in the fork of a tree or on a horizontal branch, using sticks and branches to construct a large platform-like structure. The nest can reach up to 2 meters in diameter and is often reused year after year.
White-bellied sea eagles typically lay two eggs, which are usually laid 2-4 days apart. The eggs are oval-shaped and are usually around 7-9 cm in length and 5-6 cm in width. The eggs have a white color and may have some brown speckles or markings on them.
The female eagle is responsible for incubating the eggs while the male brings her food. The eggs usually hatch after around 38-45 days of incubation. The chicks are initially covered in white down feathers and are completely dependent on their parents for food and care.
Once hatched, the parents take turns in feeding and caring for the chicks. They regurgitate partially digested food for the chicks, such as fish, crustaceans, and small mammals. The chicks grow rapidly, and after around 10-12 weeks, they are ready to fledge and leave the nest. However, the parents continue to provide food and care for the young birds for several months until they become fully independent.
The White-bellied sea eagle, also known as the white-breasted sea eagle or Haliaeetus leucogaster, is a large bird of prey found in coastal and wetland areas of South and Southeast Asia, Australia, and surrounding islands. The species is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This classification indicates that the population of White-bellied sea eagles is stable and not currently threatened with extinction. However, the IUCN notes that there are still some localized threats to the species, such as habitat loss and degradation, persecution by humans, and accidental entanglement in fishing gear.