White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Calls
Distinctive loud "goose-like" honking call, which is heard particularly during the breeding season.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
75cm
Maximum Size: 
85cm
Average size: 
80cm
Average weight: 
2 630g
Breeding season: 
May to October
Clutch Size: 
Two.
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
226
What does it look like?
Description: 

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle has white on the head, rump and underparts and dark grey on the back and wings. In flight the black flight feathers on the wings are easily seen when the bird is viewed from below. The large, hooked bill is grey with a darker tip, and the eye is dark brown. The legs and feet are cream-white, with long black talons (claws). The sexes are similar. As in other raptors (birds of prey), Males (2.5 kg - 3.7 kg) are slightly smaller than females (2.8 kg - 4.2 kg).The wingspan is about 1.8 m - 2 m. Young Sea-Eagles are brown as juveniles than slowly become to resemble adults in a patchwork manner, acquiring the complete adult plumage by their fourth year.

Similar species: 

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle is the second largest raptor (bird of prey) found in Australia. The largest is the Wedge-tailed Eagle, Aquila audax, which stands up to 1 m tall. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is mostly brown, with a wedge-shaped tail. Young Sea-Eagles may be confused with the Wedge-tailed Eagle, but differ in having a paler head and tail and more steeply upswept wings when soaring.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

White-bellied Sea-Eagles are a common sight in coastal and near coastal areas of Australia. In addition to Australia, the species is found in New Guinea, Indonesia, China, south-east Asia and India

Habitat: 

White-bellied Sea-Eagles are normally seen perched high in a tree, or soaring over waterways and adjacent land. Birds form permanent pairs that inhabit territories throughout the year.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle feeds mainly off aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles and sea snakes, but it takes birds and mammals as well. It is a skilled hunter, and will attack prey up to the size of a swan. Sea-Eagles also feed on carrion (dead prey) such as sheep and fish along the waterline. They harass smaller birds, forcing them to drop any food that they are carrying. Sea-Eagles feed alone, in pairs or in family groups.

Breeding: 

White-bellied Sea-Eagles build a large stick nest, which is used for many seasons in succession. The nest can be located in a tree up to 30m above the ground, but may also be placed on the ground or on rocks, where there are no suitable trees. At the start of the breeding season, the nest is lined with fresh green leaves and twigs. The female carries out most of the incubation of the white eggs, but the male performs this duty from time to time.

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