Interesting facts about sea eagles

sea eagle

A sea eagle is any of the birds of prey in the genus Haliaeetus.

There are 10 species of sea eagles:
• African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)
• Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
• Grey-headed fish eagle (Haliaeetus ichthyaetus)
• Lesser fish eagle (Haliaeetus humilis)
• Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides)
• Pallas’s fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus)
• Sanford’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi)
Steller’s sea eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) [photo below]
• White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
• White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

stellers sea eagle

They live along rivers, big lakes, and tidewaters throughout the world except South America.

Generally speaking, sea eagles have lifespan from 15 to 30 years in the wild. Sometimes they do live longer in captivity due to a consistent food supply, veterinarian care, and shelter from extreme weather.

Sea eagles vary in size, from Sanford’s sea eagle, averaging 2.0 to 2.7 kg (4.4 to 6 pounds), to the huge Steller’s sea eagle, weighing up to 9 kg (20 pounds). At up to 6.9 kg (15.2 pounds), the white-tailed eagle is the largest eagle in Europe. Bald eagles can weigh up to 7.5 kg (16.5 pounds), making them the largest eagle native to North America.

Some reach 1 meter (3.3 feet) long, with a wingspan nearly twice that.

bald eagle wngspan

All species have exceptionally large high-arched beaks and bare lower legs. The undersurfaces of the toes are roughened for grasping slippery prey.

Sea eagles are diurnal birds.

These birds eat much carrion but sometimes kill. They snatch fish from the water surface and often rob their chief competitor, the osprey. They also eat crustaceans, small mammals, birds and reptiles.

Sea eagles can achieve 50 km/h (30 mph) using powerful wing-beats and even faster when diving after prey (stoop). Bald eagles can dive at up to 160 km/h (100 mph);

sea eagle fish

The eagle eye is among the strongest in the animal kingdom, with an eyesight estimated at 4 to 8 times stronger than that of the average human. An eagle is said to be able to spot a rabbit 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) away.

Sea eagles are monogamous. They mate for life and use the same nest each year.

Many species lay from one to three eggs. Both males and females share incubation responsibilities but the female typically spends more time on the nest than the male. It takes 35 days for eagle eggs to hatch. A young eagle is called an eaglet. The older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched.

The genus Haliaeetus is possibly one of the oldest genera of living birds.


The genus Haliaeetus was introduced in 1809 by the French naturalist Marie Jules César Savigny in his chapter on birds in the Description de l’Égypte.

Sea eagles are also called ernes or erns.

The bald eagle is best known species. These graceful birds have been the national symbol of the United States since 1782. Native Americans consider the bald eagle to be sacred.

The word “eagle” is derived from Latin: aquila by way of French: aigle. The origin of aquila is unknown, but it is believed to possibly derive from either aquilus (meaning dark-colored, swarthy, or blackish) as a reference to the plumage of eagles or from aquilo (meaning north wind).

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