White-bellied Sea Eagle – Birding In Goa


The White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) is a large, powerful bird of prey found in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Australia. It is the largest sea eagle in Australia, with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters. A brown-colored bird with a white belly and chest. Has a large, hooked beak and yellow eyes. The legs are also yellow, with strong talons.

White-bellied Sea Eagle in-flight
White-bellied Sea Eagle in-flight

White-bellied Sea Eagle

This eagle is a predatory bird. Seen in small numbers along the sea coast, backwaters, and estuaries along the coast, circling over the waters to spot the prey. Fish and water snakes are its primary food. Larger size, smaller numbers, higher flight paths, white belly, neck, head, and upper wings distinguish it from other kites. It is predatory while other birds like Brahminy and Black Kites are scavengers. Hence other birds keep a safe distance from this Sea Eagle, Sunday Shot managed to photograph in-flight.

It is also known as the white-breasted sea eagle, a large bird of prey. Like many raptors, the female is slightly larger than the male and can measure up to 90 cm long with a wingspan of up to 7.2 feet and weigh 4.5 kg. They are a common sight in coastal areas. It hunts mainly aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles, and sea snakes. While you are around the beaches, take a look at the birds flying overhead, you might well find one of them hovering above.

It does not dive into the water but catches the prey in talons while they appear on the surface of the water. Flies to the nearby tall treetop to feed and rest. It nests in winter. Known to display amazing aerodynamics in flight, it is a master of the coastal skies. It is a relatively rare bird and not seen in the hinterlands.

This image of Sunday Shot was captured near Santa Monica jetty at Panjim, Goa.

Recommend you read the following travel blog on birding & bird photography across India.


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