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Pallas's Fish Eagle

Haliaeetus leucoryphus

The Pallas's fish eagle, also known as Pallas's sea eagle or band-tailed fish eagle, is a majestic bird of prey with a light sandy-brown hood and a whitish face. Its wings are a darker brown, while the back is rufous. Notably, the tail is black with a wide, distinctive white stripe, setting it apart from other species.

Identification Tips

Adult Pallas's fish eagles can be identified by their long, slender wings, which are particularly slender for a sea eagle, and their unique tail pattern. Juveniles are overall a darker, cooler brown and lack the adult's tail band but have pale areas on the wing. It takes about four years to acquire the full adult plumage.

Habitat

This species is found in a variety of habitats, often near large bodies of freshwater where it can hunt for fish.

Distribution

The Pallas's fish eagle breeds in the east Palearctic, with its range extending across Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, China, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Bhutan.

Behaviour

The Pallas's fish eagle is partially migratory, with Central Asian birds wintering in northern India and as far west as the Persian Gulf. It is known for its remarkable ability to lift heavy prey, including water birds of its own size or larger.

Diet and Feeding

Its diet primarily consists of large freshwater fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder, also preying on birds, mammals, frogs, reptiles, insects, and occasionally carrion. In Bangladesh, its prey includes various species of carp and other fish, as well as water birds like the pheasant-tailed jacana and lesser whistling duck.

Conservation status

The Pallas's fish eagle is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, with a global population estimated at less than 2,500 individuals. Habitat degradation, pollution, and overfishing are significant threats to this species, along with direct persecution by humans.

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