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White-bellied Sea Eagle

Name for a very large bird of prey (fig.), with the scientific name Haliaeetus leucogaster. It is grey above (fig.), with a white head, neck and underparts (fig.). Its tail is white with a black bar, the wings white and black (fig.). The legs are yellowish and the bill is grey with a somewhat darker tip. The upper mandible is enlarged and curved downward at the tip, over the shorter, lower mandible (fig.). When gliding its wings are V-shaped. First year juveniles are very different in plumage. They have a dingy brownish breast-wash, a dull buffish-cream head and an off-white tail with a dark brownish subterminal band. On the underside, the wings have warm buffish coverts, and a large whitish patch on the primaries, that contrasts with blackish secondaries and primary tips (fig.). In their third year juveniles will gradually transform into a much lighter plumage, first becoming mostly buffish-white, while keeping the blackish secondaries and primary tips, until they eventually reach the white, grey and black colours of adults. The White-bellied Sea Eagle is a mainly coastal raptor, though it may travel some distance inland to feed. It is one of the largest raptors in Southeast Asia and is found near rocky shores, islets and sometimes at larger inland water bodies. Also known as White-bellied Fish-eagle and White-breasted Sea Eagle, and in Thai as nok ouk and nok insih thalae. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES, THEMATIC STREET LIGHT, and WATCH VIDEO (1) and (2).