White Bellied Sea Eagle
- White-bellied sea eagles are a large bird of prey.
- They have a dark grey back with a white head, white chest and white belly.
- Their legs are also white and have long black claws.
- They have dark eyes and a light-coloured, hooked beak.
- When viewed in flight, the undersides of the wings are a distinctive half white and half grey-brown. The tail is also distinctively wedged-shape.
- Size: male- 76cm; female- 84cm
What to Observe
What to observe (record adult birds only):
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
White bellied sea eagles are top predators in coastal areas and can often be seen hunting fish and small mammals along beaches, estuaries and sand dunes. Their presence may indicate a healthy coastal ecosystem with many food sources and foraging areas available.
When To Look
Throughout the year.
Where To Look
- Usually found along coast lines, but can also be found inland around lakes, rivers and dams.
- Throughout Australia
The map below displays the accumulated observations of these species as reported by ClimateWatch observers, together with the layer showing how the range of the species might change between now and 2085, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, and green areas where the species range might expand.
Slater, P. Slater, P. and Slater, R. (1988). The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds. Lansdowne-Rigby Publishers NSW, Australia.
The white-bellied sea eagle looks similar to the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) but the eagle is much bigger and has a wedge shaped rather than fan shaped tail. It could also be confused with a black shouldered kite (Elanus notatus), but kites are much smaller (36cm) compared to the 76-84cm white-bellied sea eagle and have light coloured eyes
Did You Know?
Sea eagles are the second largest bird of prey in Australia, after the wedge-tailed eagle.
Sea eagles also eat carrion (dead prey), and can also be found eating road kill.
They can be seen harassing smaller birds forcing them to drop their foods they can steal it.
They pair up for life and are territorial.
They can also be found in China, India, South-east Asia, Indonesia and New Guinea.