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White-Bellied Sea Eagle: Master of the Coastal Skies

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle, scientifically known as Haliaeetus leucogaster, is a majestic and formidable raptor that reigns supreme along the coastlines and estuaries of Southeast Asia and Australia. With its striking appearance, powerful talons, and keen eyesight, this iconic bird of prey commands respect and admiration as a symbol of coastal wilderness and aerial prowess.

Physical Characteristics:

White-Bellied Sea Eagles are large and imposing birds, with adults typically measuring between 70 to 90 centimeters (27 to 35 inches) in length and boasting an impressive wingspan of up to 2.2 meters (7 feet). They exhibit sexual dimorphism, with females being slightly larger than males. Their plumage is predominantly dark brown, with contrasting white feathers on the head and neck, giving them their distinctive appearance. Juvenile birds are generally lighter in color and gradually acquire their adult plumage as they mature.

Habitat and Behavior:

As their name suggests, White-Bellied Sea Eagles are closely associated with coastal habitats, including shorelines, mangrove forests, estuaries, and offshore islands, where they hunt for fish, crustaceans, and other marine prey. They are powerful and agile flyers, capable of soaring gracefully on thermals or executing swift dives to capture prey from the water’s surface. White-Bellied Sea Eagles are also known to scavenge for food and may feed on carrion or prey stolen from other birds.

Breeding and Nesting:

White-Bellied Sea Eagles form monogamous pairs that mate for life, with breeding pairs establishing territories along coastal cliffs, tall trees, or man-made structures such as pylons or transmission towers. They construct large stick nests lined with soft materials such as leaves, grass, and feathers, which they refurbish and reuse year after year. Females typically lay one to three eggs per clutch, with both parents sharing incubation duties and caring for the hatchlings until they fledge.

The White-Bellied Sea Eagle stands as a symbol of strength, beauty, and resilience in the coastal wilderness, captivating observers with its majestic presence and aerial prowess.

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