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Steller’s Sea Eagle Facts

Common Name(s): Pacific Eagle, White-Shouldered Eagle and O-washi

Scientific Name: Haliaeetus pelagicus

Approximate Wing Span: 6-8 Feet (1.8-2.45 m)

Approximate Life Span: May live more than 20 years

Natural Habitat: Asia’s East Coast

Description

Steller’s Sea Eagles are magnificent looking birds of prey with physical characteristics enabling the raptor to be easily identified. These birds have an extremely large black body with white patches on the shoulders, a white wedge-shaped tail and long white leggings. This raptor also is known for its large, arched and yellow beak as well as its strong talons. Overall, these birds are considered the largest and heaviest eagles weighing 11-20 pounds with a body length from 34-41 inches.

Habitat

These eagles are typically found along the coastline of northeast Asia but are sometimes found on the islands of Alaska. You will normally spot Steller’s Sea Eagles on small islands, coasts and valleys near large bodies of water including rivers, lakes and the North Pacific Ocean. As long as there is a body of water rich with fish and other potential forms of prey, the Steller’s Sea Eagle will be there.

Food & Hunting

These raptors prey on a variety of types of fish including trout, cod and salmon. However, they are also known to eat sea birds, muskrats, seal and carrion. When rescued, Steller’s Sea Eagles are commonly fed frozen rodents, trout, feeder quail and other small mammals.

These birds of prey catch fish using a variety of methods. Their most notable technique for obtaining fish is to perch on cliffs and trees then dive to snatch up prey. They have also been observed to wait near the water’s surface to quickly catch fish with their large yellow beaks. These raptors have also exhibited communal behavior during salmon spawns and even take fish from other large birds of prey. If the Steller’s Sea Eagle is unable to obtain food easily, it will simply scavenge dumps or other commercial fishing sources.

Behavior

These eagles primarily perform courting displays in late winter and lay one to three small weight eggs in the spring. Steller’s Sea Eagles make a deep barking cry, ra-ra-ra-raurau, in times of hostile circumstances.

This species of raptor is classified as vulnerable. Thus, these birds are legally protected and classified as a National Treasure in Japan. Many organizations are making strides to try to prevent threats to the species by trying to eliminate industrial pollution, habitat alteration and over-fishing. Also, global climate change has forced this bird into regions of the world where it is not adapted to.



 

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