Friday, 26 August 2016

White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

OTHER NAMES: White-Bellied Fish Eagle, White-breasted Fish Eagle
Latin Etymology: Haliaeetus ("Sea Eagle") leucogaster ("white abdomen")

Juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) at Malacca, Malaysia - July 2016

Local Name (Malay): Helang Siput ("Snail Eagle") 
Weight: 4.5kg
Length: 75-85cm
Wingspan: 2.2m
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle was actually one of the very first bird species I encountered on the Malaysia/Singapore trip - on the night we arrived I spent about 30 minutes standing in the driveway just to see what would turn up, and a pair of these huge birds circled high overhead.  This is perhaps indicative of something I haven't really encountered in other eagles - the are far happier to live near humans than all the other species.  Unlike the other species I have encountered, I found them right in the middle of Cities - either flying over Central Singapore or a family perched right in the middle of central Malacca. The bird pictured is a juvenile, and so lacks the distinctive mostly white plumage of the adults, which I did see (indeed, on the same perch) but more more distantly at the time.

Related Species:
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Haliaeetus
SUBSPECIES: none - monotypic 

 - Sighting Locations -
MALAYSIA - A locally common resident on the coast.
 - MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE 2016 TRIP: At least three seen in Central Malacca
SINGAPORE - A fairly common resident.
 - MALAYSIA/SINGAPORE 2016 TRIP: Two birds seen circling high above Lower Peirce Reservoir.

Further Notes: ArkiveBirdForum OpusBirdGuides, IUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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