Age: Up to 30 years
Weight: Up to 3.9kg
Wingspan: Up to 200cm
Status: Endangered in South Australia
With a wingspan of up to 2m, the white-bellied sea eagle is the second largest bird of prey in Australia, just behind the wedge-tailed eagle.
White-bellied sea eagles are commonly found along coastlines throughout Australia, and are also known to live inland at terrestrial wetland locations far from the coast.
These impressive birds can be identified by their white head and belly, which contrasts with their dark grey back and wings. Juvenile sea eagles are brown in colour and sometimes confused with wedge-tailed eagles, acquiring their white and grey plumage by the time they are around four years of age.
White-bellied sea eagles can also be identified by their relatively short tail feathers in relation to their body size, and leg plumage which stops quite high, leaving the lower part of their legs un-feathered. This design allows them to hunt prey from the surface of bodies of water without getting their feathers wet. White-bellies sea eagles feed mainly on aquatic prey such as fish and turtles but are also known to hunt prey such as birds and small mammals. They are opportunistic feeders and will also eat carrion or steal food off of other coastal birds.