White-bellied Sea Eagle

Scientific Name: Icthyophaga leucogaster

Malay Name: Helang-Laut Putih

Chinese Name: 白腹海雕

Range: Resident along the coastal regions from the Indian subcontinent through southeast Asia to Australia.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 70-85 cm

Identification: Adults have all white underparts with black flight feathers, sub-adults variably greyish-brown underparts depending on age. Easily identified in flight when the wings are lifted upwards to form a shallow "v" when soaring. Sub-adults distinguished from the Grey-headed Fish Eagle by having a uniformly brown to white underparts, as opposed to having a contrasting white vent and undertail coverts.

Similar looking species: Osprey, Black-winged Kite, Grey-headed Fish Eagle

Habitat: Coastal areas and inland waterbodies.

Behaviour/Ecology: Heaviest resident bird in Singapore. Feeds primarily on fish. Has a spectacular aerial display where two birds will cling on to each other in the air with their feet and somersault downwards, letting go before they hit the ground. Loud honking call sounds almost like a duck.

Local Status: Very common resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2020 Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Location: Found throughout Singapore, often but not restricted to coastal area and sites near waterbodies.


BirdLife International 2020. Haliaeetus leucogaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020.. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

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