What is a white-breasted sea eagle? The white-breasted or white-bellied sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) is a majestic bird of prey that lives near the ocean and other large bodies of water. The bill is powerful and hooked, so it can easily kill and dismember its prey. The wingspan is a massive 1.8 - 2.2 metres.

What does it look like? Females reach up to 84 centimetres long, whereas males are smaller with a maximum length of 76 centimetres. The head, neck, breast and underparts are snowy white in colour, sometimes with very thin grey streaks. The back, wings and tail are almost black and the tail has a broad white tip.

Where does it live? This bird is most often seen along sea shores and on islands. In fact it lives in most places where there is extensive water. It is found around the entire Australian coastline and also inland along some large rivers.

What does it eat and how? It will land on the ground to tear its prey, usually a fish, apart with its large talons. Tortoises, waterbirds, smll mammals and carrion are also eaten.

Behaviour: The white-breasted sea-eagle can often be seen perched on high vantage points near water or swooping on to fish or other prey, with its powerful wings uplifted. Its call is a raucous cank-cank-cank that resembles that of the goose.

Breeding and caring for young: Sea-eagles build enormous nests, up to four metres high, often perched on a cliff. Breeding is between May and October. Two eggs are laid, several days apart, but the first-born takes most of the food and the second usually dies. The female spends the most time sitting on the eggs and brooding, only relieved for short periods by her mate. She feeds the nestlings with food captured by the father.

White breasted sea eagle

Protecting sea eagles: Please call the WILDCARE helpline if you find an injured sea eagle and stay well clear, as these large birds may be capable of inflicting an injury if they become frightened.