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Pallas's Fish Eagle
Haliaeetus leucoryphus

Status: Vulnerable

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Band-tailed Fishing Eagle, Long-tailed Eagle, Pallas' Fish-eagle, Pallas's Fishing Eagle, Pallas's Eagle, Pallas's Sea-eagle, Ring-tailed Fishing Eagle.

Haliaeetus leucoryphus
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Distribution: Indomalayan/Palearctic. Central and southern Asia from IRAQ, KAZAKHSTAN and UZBEKISTAN east to northern CHINA and south to the northern Indian subcontinent and south-central CHINA; northern birds migrate to IRAN and AFGHANISTAN, rarely to Europe and the Middle East. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: A morphological analysis by Zimbelmann (1992), an allozyme analysis by Schreiber and Weitzel (1995), and molecular phylogenetic analyses by Wink et al. (1996), Seibold and Helbig (1996), and Lerner and Mindell (2005), confirmed that Haliaeetus is monophyletic with a close relationship to the milvine kites of the genera Milvus and Haliastur. The latter authors found that the northern sea eagle species, H. albicilla, H. leucocephalus, H. pelagicus, and H. leucoryphus, form a clade distinct from the southern members of the genus. Sometimes called "Pallas's Sea-eagle," but this name seems inappropriate for a species rarely found in coastal areas (Beaman 1994).

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Migrates across mountains.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs along lakes, marshes, and large rivers at inland localities, often in dry steppe-like terrain (Brazil 2009), from lowlands to 5,000 m. Usually found perching on posts and trees, or on the ground when gorged.

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds mainly on fish, but also takes birds, mammals, including rabbits and rodents, frogs, reptiles, including snakes and terrapins, and carrion (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Snatches fish from the surface of water, takes carrion and colonial birds, and kleptoparasitizes other raptor species (Rasmussen and Anderton 2005).

Breeding: Builds a large stick nest lined with green leaves, which is placed in a tall tree, usually near water. The same nest may be used in successive years, with more material being added annually. more....

Conservation: This species is sparsely distributed in a large overall range. It has a small, declining population as a result of the widespread habitat loss from the draining of wetlands and the felling of large waterside trees used for perching and nesting. The silting of lakes and the spread of water hyacinth (Eichnornia crassipes) are problems in India. Other human pressures include shooting, disturbance, and reduction of the prey base from hunting and overfishing. Environmental contaminants, especially DDE, may be a problem for this species. Categorized as Vulnerable by BirdLife International.

Population Estimates: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) placed the global population (defined as the number of adults and immatures at the start of the breeding season) in the range of 1,001 to 10,000 individuals, but mentioned that it is probably nearer the lower figure. BirdLife International (2009) estimated the number of mature birds at 2,500 to 9,999 individuals, but noted that the supporting data for any estimate are poor.

Important References: 
BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened birds of the world. Lynx
  Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, and BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Orta, J. 1994. Pallas's Fish-eagle. P. 122 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott,
  and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Sites of Interest:
Red Data Book Threatened Birds of Asia
Detailed information on status, threats, and proposed conservation actions.

Dhakal, Hemanta
Gilbert, Martin
Ma, Ming
Naoroji, Rishad K.

Last modified: 7/27/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Pallas's Fish Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 4 Jul. 2020

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