Pallas's fish eagle

Haliaeetus leucoryphus
Photo by Johan Stenlund (PBase)

Common name:
Pallas’s fish eagle (en); águia-de-Pallas (pt); pygargue de Pallas (fr); pigargo de Pallas (es)bindenseeadler (de)

Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

This species is found in central Asia, from Kazakhstan to Mongolia and northern China, and south to northern India and Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and southern China.

This large eagle is 72-84 cm long and has a wingspan of 180-215 cm. They weigh 2-3,7 kg.

The Pallas’s fish eagle is found in inland wetlands, namely large freshwater lakes, freshwater marshes and along river and creeks, from sea level up to an altitude of 5.000 m.

They mainly eat fish, which they take from the water surface rather than by plunge-diving. They are also know to eat frogs, turtles, reptiles and other birds, and often consume carrion or steal food from other predators such as ospreys.

Pallas’s fish eagle breed in November-July. The nest is a huge platform of sticks lined with hay, rushes, straw, fine twigs and green leaves, placed on a tree or even on the ground, along the edges of lakes and rivers. There the female lays 2-4 white eggs, which are mostly incubated by the female for 40-45 days, while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 10-15 weeks after hatching, but invariably the last chick to hatch will die, as it cannot compete effectively with its older siblings for food from its parents.

IUCN status – VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a very large breeding range, but the global population is estimated at just 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population currently declining at a moderate rate, mostly because of the loss, degradation and disturbance of wetland habitats and adjacent nesting trees throughout its range. Pollution and eutrophication of wetlands, together with over-fishing are major threats to this species, as is the constrution of hydroelectric dams. Hunting may be a localized problem in parts of China.

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