Bird of the week – White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle is a bird of prey. It is usually seen flying over or near water, or perched on rocks or trees near water. Its call sounds like the call of a goose.

What the White-bellied Sea-Eagle looks like

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle is 75-85 cm in length. An adult has a white head, neck, underbody and undertail. It has a dark grey back and wings. It has a grey beak, brown eyes and cream legs and feet with black talons. A juvenile is brown. It changes to the adult colour over about four years.

Where the White-bellied Sea-Eagle lives

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle lives around the coasts of Australia. It also lives in New Guinea, Indonesia, China and India. It is found near rivers, lakes and beaches.

What the White-bellied Sea-Eagle eats

The White-bellied Sea-Eagle eats fishes, turtles and sea snakes. It also eats birds, small mammals and dead animals. It hunts from perches or while flying. It picks up and carries food with its feet.

How the White-bellied Sea-Eagle breeds

White-bellied Sea-Eagles stay with the same mate for their whole lives.

The adults breed from autumn to spring. They do spectacular courtship flights and sometimes pass food to each other. They mate.

The female lays two white eggs in a huge nest of sticks in a tall tree. The female does most of the sitting on the eggs to keep them warm.

The chicks hatch after about six weeks.

The male brings food to the nest and the female feeds it to the chicks. The chicks leave the nest after nine to ten weeks. They grow into breeding adults.

Australian daytime birds of prey

birds of prey


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