As Brunei National Animal, the White Bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) holds a special place in the country’s history and culture. With its striking appearance and impressive hunting abilities, this bird of prey has captured the hearts and imaginations of people across the world. In this article, we will explore the physical characteristics, habitat and range, behavior and diet, as well as conservation status of the White Bellied Sea Eagle in Brunei.
Physical Characteristics of Brunei National Animal
The White Bellied Sea Eagle is a large bird of prey with a white head, neck, and underparts, contrasting with dark brown feathers on the wings and back. Adults have a distinctive hooked beak, yellow eyes, and long, sharp talons. These birds can grow up to 90 cm in length and have a wingspan of over 2 meters. Males are typically smaller than females, with a smaller body size and shorter wingspan.
Habitat and Range
The White Bellied Sea Eagle is found along the coasts of Brunei and Southeast Asia, ranging from India and Sri Lanka in the west to Papua New Guinea and Australia in the east. They prefer to live near water, such as estuaries, mangrove swamps, and coastal cliffs. In Brunei, these birds can be seen near the beaches, rivers, and mangroves, where they hunt for fish, crabs, and other marine animals.
Behavior and Diet
White Bellied Sea Eagles are powerful hunters, using their sharp talons and hooked beak to catch prey. They are also known to steal food from other birds, such as ospreys and gulls. These birds mate for life and build large nests high in trees or on cliffs, where they lay one or two eggs per year. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the young. White Bellied Sea Eagles are also known for their vocalizations, including a high-pitched whistle and a distinctive screech.
Conservation Status of Brunei National Animal
While the White Bellied Sea Eagle is not currently considered to be endangered, its populations in Brunei and other parts of Southeast Asia are threatened by habitat loss and human disturbance. In Brunei, development projects such as land reclamation and construction of coastal infrastructure pose a significant threat to the species. To conserve the White Bellied Sea Eagle and its habitat, there are ongoing efforts to protect coastal wetlands and mangroves, and to raise public awareness about the importance of conserving these ecosystems.
The White Bellied Sea Eagle is a magnificent bird that plays an important role in Brunei’s ecology and culture. With its striking appearance and impressive hunting abilities, it has captured the hearts and imaginations of people across the world. While the species is not currently endangered, ongoing conservation efforts are needed to protect its populations and their habitats. By working together to conserve this remarkable bird, we can ensure that it continues to thrive for generations to come.
BirdLife International. (2022). Haliaeetus leucogaster. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T22695164A184023228. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-1.RLTS.T22695164A184023228.en