[Eagles] Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle & While Bellied Sea Eagle

Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle & While Bellied Sea Eagle

Today (01 March 2011) at Mai Po, gear used Canon 1d Mark iv + Canon 600 F/4 IS + 1.4 TC / 2X TC

For this one i was lucky, just saw this one far away chased by a crow and just before that sun came out and it became bright day, took couple of shots

[ Last edited by akhan at 2/03/2011 23:47 ]


Nice pix.

The last couple of pix are of White-bellied Sea Eagle, an irregular visitor to the Deep Bay Wetlands

Mike K
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


Mike K
Thanks a lot for nice comments, yes i agree with you, i never came across White-bellied Sea Eagle in Mai Po, probably it was my lucky day, i spend the whole day waiting for Imperial Eagle to give me some good shots as i was waiting suddenly i saw something in the sky chased by a crow and right before that sun came out so it became very bright and i managed to get some good shots, by the way they were not in the deep bay i was sitting in the bird hide out where normally Imperial Eagle is found (i can not recall the pond name probably No.18 or 20 = they are four ponds together)and this White-bellied Sea Eagle were coming for the hill side right in front while sitting inside the hide out.


A juvenile bird?

It seems that the White-bellied sea-eagle photos shown here quite in agreement with the description
found in the book 'Raptors of the World' by J Ferguson-Lees & David A. Christie that the bird
is an juvenile. Here I have some questions hoping somebody reading my message would kindly answer.

a) Now the bird is well in March, so is it still proper to call it a juvenile, or a 1st winter bird,
   or a bird in its second year?
b) It can be seen that the inner primaries are growing out. Does it mean that the bird is undergoing
   a complete moult which is usual during 1st winter/spring time, or just partial flight feather moult?

Hope my wording proves not confusing.

Thanks for any illuminating comments?

S L Tai


My brother  (the white hot one) who now lives in Australia had this to say about the Sea Eagle.
'Nice pics. Seems like the bird is a first immature( 2nd calendar year) - still retaining the breast band, dark subterminal band (unusually blackish undertail), dark stripe from behind the eye. They should attain this plumage at about 1 year of age. The post-juvenile moult of the primaries (occurs outward) starting apparently when about 1 year.  Some individuals may start body moult well before moult of the remiges.

The individual still has the juvenile outer primaries and most of the secondaries (except the very inner ones) as they are very pointed at the tip.At a guess, the bird is between 1 and 2 years old. They may take 4-5 years to attain full adult colours.

Second immatures ( at the beginning of their 3rd calendar year of age) should have white tails with at most some brown speckling on the outer webs of t5. They should also have generally more blackish mottling on the basal half of the undertail than first immatures (the picture seem to show a bird with whitish basal undertail).

All information gleaned from our HANZAB; thanks for making me look it up. Saw one this morning on a wet wader count. No pics unfortunately.


In addition you might find the section pages 50-53 in Ferguson-Lees& Christie on raptor moult really interesting and helpful to a degree.


Dear eRic

Thanks for your answer. While satified with my basic enquiry, it also pushes me forward to further
enquiry which I will do so myself. While I was reading up 'Raptors of the World', I also noticed that Australia gets this bird around its whole coastal area.

By the way, I can't solve this little riddle H(handbook?)of A(Australia?) and NZ (New Zealand?)A(?)
B(book?)completely. Can you help with this too?

S L Tai


The honourable Mr T
Stands for the 'Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds' -it is  the Antipodean version of Birds of the Western Palearctic(BWP).
You may need another book case if you invest in this set!
Try this link. ... ntarctic-birds.html

Happy birding.


Just missed this thread - the disucssion on WBSE.
Without doubt, this bird is born last winter 09/10, which means it's around 14 months old, whatever you called it.  
Please note that the term "first winter" are generally refer to the migratant from Palearctic or those normally breed in spring/summer. But WBSE in HK, also in Australia, breed in winter. So, I don't know what exactly "first winter" means for this species..
This bird arpparently has not yet attained sub-adult plumage, is something in between "fledgling" and "juvenile", depending how you call it.
There has been a short note published in HKBWS Bulletin  with drawing (2009 winter edition or around) explaining how to age WBSE.
By the way, a good photo set and WBSE juvenile record.



The notes and drawing for aging WBSE is on bulletin 213 (2009 Autumn).


Dear Gary

I personally think the term 'juvenile' is both safe and vague for a bird which has left its nest and is able to do independent feeding/hunting. 'Calender year' is, though coined in terms of human culture, gives us a good idea of the length of time after a bird is born. So if your knowledge that the young WBSE is over 14 months since born (presumbably you've been monitoring this individual since it has fledged somewhere in HK) is perfectly recorded, eRic's brother, who is in Australia, proves to have given us, particularly me, a sound judgement based on moulting pattern of WBSE in general.

I'm well convinced that the WBSE in question is in its 2nd calendar year.

Thank you here for eRic's answer for my 'riddle' and further information, for Gary and Beetle's
help with what can be found in the Society's bulletin.

S L Tai