Monday, 15 December 2014

Steller's Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus)

Adult Steller's Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) from Akan Crane Centre, Hokkaido, Japan - December 2014

Local Name (Japan): O-washi - (オオワシ) "Great Eagle"
Local Name (Ainu): Kapacchilikamui ("God-spirit of the Eagles")
Weight: 5-9kg
Length: 85-100cm
Wingspan: 200-250cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

If, when I had started this blog you had asked me if I could see any bird in the world at all, the Steller's Sea Eagle would have quite possibly been my answer.  It is, in my opinion at least, just about the most spectacular bird on the planet.  It is enormous, with that wingspan that can reach 2.5m wide.  The beak is enormous and bright yellow and there are prominent white panels on the wings make it distinct from it's relations the Bald and White-tailed eagles.  Hokkaido is pretty much the only plausible place to go see them, and in certain locations (unfortunately beyond where we went on this trip) they can be seen in huge numbers at close range in towns where they live off fishing cast offs.

Related Species:
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Haliaeetus
Subspecies: None - monotypic

 - Sighting Locations -
JAPAN - Locally Common Visitor to Hokkaido, rare vagrant in the rest of Japan
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Two seen distantly from Akan Crane Centre in early December.

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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