The Regal White-Breasted Sea Eagle

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SeaEagle 2016 Feel someone is watching?

Nature’s custodian has to be the regal White-Breasted Sea Eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster, the most imposing of more than 160 species of birds found in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Australia’s second oldest National Park and the country’s third most biodiverse region after the Daintree and Wet Tropics.

The White-breasted Sea Eagle is Australia’s second largest raptor, after the Wedge-tailed Eagle, and is recognised by its stark white and slate grey plumage. In flight, the soaring eagles’ 2m wingspan is a give-a-way; but otherwise it’s watching for prey or threats or tourists from high in the trees, or from its well-disguised nest that blurs into the dense, ever-green canopy of the National Park.

Maintained over generations, a White-breasted Sea Eagle’s nest is guaranteed to have an impressive outlook. Breeding pairs, which mate for life (the breeding season is the Australian Winter, from June to August), know their territory instinctively and are highly protective of their permanent nest, which grows in size over the years.

Annually, the breeding pair renovates its nest with grass and seaweed over three to six weeks before laying a pair of white eggs around 70mm long; these incubate for six weeks before hatching in the spring. Usually only one hatchling survives (two is unusual) and it remains in its parents’ territory for between six to ten months. As a breeding pair must defend its territory from trespassing eagles that may threaten their own security and survival, including offspring, so the adolescent is given its marching orders before the next breeding season (and before an opportunity to challenge its parents’ reign).SeaEagleNest_2_2015

As a bird of prey, the White-breasted Sea Eagle has mainly a seafood diet of fish and sea snakes, even turtles or penguins. If found in its habitat, it will also hunt medium sized birds like the kookaburra and small land mammals like the possum, or feed on carrion like dead goanna, as opportune. While is not classified as rare, this raptor super-species is protected in Australia (it resides along coastal and major inland waterways all around Australia and into south-east Asia up to India).

Sydney OutBack passes a well-established White-breasted Sea Eagle nest beside the waterways in Ku-ring-gai Chase, and visitors are surprised by both its size and location. To learn more about Sydney OutBack’s Wilderness and Aboriginal Explorer Tour and Cruise, just click here.

Our tours are also part of Tourism Australia’s Indigenous Tourism Champions Program (ITCP), recognizing that we offer a quality experience that that meets the needs and expectations of international visitors.

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