|Australian Bush Birds|
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|White-bellied Sea Eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster|
|Left. The very distinctive shape of a fully mature White-bellied Sea-Eagle in flight.|
Right. Head and shoulders
The White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster - has white head, neck, breast, underside and upper back back; pale grey lower back, rump, base of tail and wings. Large, powerful, hooked beak. Wings longer than tail. Legs are pale-yellow with white feathers around the upper half. From below adult sea-eagles are a distinctive black and white. Females are larger than males. Immature birds are mainly brown in their first year and brown and white in the second year; they may be readily confused with other bird species.
Reaches 75 to 85 centimetres with 180 to 220 centimetres wingspan.
Often perches conspicuously on a high limb with a view over coast or river. Soars on rising air columns. When soaring the wings have upcurved dihedral different to other eagle wing profiles. Lives on large rivers, fresh and saline lakes, estuaries, reservoirs and islands. Usually coastal but sometimes far inland on large pools of major rivers.
|White-bellied Sea Eagle - page 2|
The main prey is fish snatched from the surface of the water as the eagle flies over but turtles, seasnakes, waterbirds and small mammals may be taken if available.
The nest is a pile of sticks up to 4 metres deep assembled in a tree or on a cliff. One or two eggs are laid.
Established pairs are sedentary, immature birds disperse. Common around most of the coastline but scarce near major cities
Distributed over most of coastal Australia but most often found on the Australian east coast south of about Rockhampton, around Port Hedland, near Esperance and in the western Top End.