The Pallas's Fish-Eagle has large range but it is sparsely distributed. The species is threatened by habitat loss caused by drainage of wetlands and tree cutting near water, where these birds perch and nest. Human pressure including shooting, disturbance and reduction of the main prey, with in addition pollution by pesticides, involves the decline of this species.

There are less than 2,500 mature individuals, and may be much lower because the breeding range is poorly known. The global population is placed in the band 1,000/2,499 mature individuals, but there are several isolated populations.
This population is declining, and the Pallas's Fish-Eagle is currently classified as Endangered.

Fr: Pygargue de Pallas
Ang: Pallas's Fish-Eagle - Pallas's Sea-Eagle
All: Bindenseeadler
Esp: Pigargo de Pallas
Ita: Aquila di mare di Pallas
Nd: Witbandzeearend
Sd: bandhavsörn


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HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 2 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334156

A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia by Craig Robson. New Holland Publishers. ISBN: 9781780090498

BIRDS OF THE MIDDLE EAST by R.F. Porter, S. Christensen, P Schiermacker-Ansen C.Helm - ISBN: 0713670169

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Pallas’s Fish-Eagle
Haliaeetus leucoryphus

Accipitriformes Order – Accipitridae Family

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle is a large, brown eagle found in Asia. It is partially migratory. It can be seen near lakes, marshes and large rivers, from lowlands to 5,000 metres of elevation.
It feeds primarily on fish, but many other prey are part of its diet. It breeds usually near water in a large nest placed in tall tree.
The Pallas's Fish-Eagle has small, declining population due to habitat loss, degradation of wetlands and disturbance of breeding sites. This species is currently classified as Endangered.

Length: 72-84 cm
Wingspan: 180-215 cm
Weight: M: 2000-3300 g – F: 2100-3700 g

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle adult has dark brown upperparts, thighs and vent, whereas the base of the tail is blackish. In flight, the tail shows a broad, white subterminal band and a narrower black terminal band.
Head, neck, upper mantle and upper breast are warm sandy-buff. The underparts are pale chestnut-brown. The long, straight wings have dark underwing-coverts.

The head is paler, whitish to buffy-white.
The bill is dark grey to greyish-blue with blackish tip. The cere is pale greyish, rarely yellowish. The eyes are dark brown or dark grey. Legs and feet are whitish to dark yellowish-brown.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle resembles Grey-headed Fish Eagle, but it is larger.  
The female has similar plumage but she is larger than male.   

The juvenile has more uniformly brown plumage, including the tail. It shows a pale band on the underwing-coverts and a pale panel on inner primaries.
On the head, the nape is washed rufous and we can see a dark patch on ear-coverts. Bill and cere are grey and the legs are white.
The young birds need 4-5 years to acquire the adult plumage.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle is found in C, E and S Asia, from S Russia and Kazakhstan to Mongolia and NE China, S to Pakistan, N India, Myanmar and SC China.
The northern populations are migratory and leave for Iran and Afghanistan. In India, they move to higher elevations after breeding.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle frequents mainly large rivers and lakes, from lowlands to 5,000 metres of elevation. It is usually near freshwater systems, but it also may occur in steppe-like habitats.
The English name “Pallas’s Sea-Eagle” is not appropriate because this species is rarely seen in coastal regions.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle gives a series of loud, mostly guttural notes, repeated several times “kha-kha-kha-kha…” or “gho-gho-gho-gho…” and variants such as a continuous, hoarse series of “kook-kook-kook…”
These notes may accelerate and run to a higher-pitched yelping.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle feeds primarily on fish caught close to the water surface. But its diet also includes numerous other prey such as birds and nestlings, mammals (rodents and rabbits), reptiles (snakes and frogs) and carrion.
Both mates usually hunt together and are known for stealing food from other raptors including Osprey, Western Marsh-Harrier and Brahminy Kite, but also from Great Cormorant and terns.

Large water birds such as Demoiselle Crane, Bar-headed Goose, Greylag Goose, Pheasant-tailed Jacana and several duck species are also killed by assaulting them on water surface before to fly off with the kill.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle is monogamous. They nest in a huge stick nest placed in tall tree near water. Both mates share the nesting duties.

This species is partially migratory, especially in the northern part of the range when the inland waters are frozen. The other populations are sedentary and dispersive.

The Pallas's Fish-Eagle has long, straight wings and flies with powerful wingbeats.

The breeding season occurs in October/June in the S range, in March/July in N and between May and September in Tibet.
The Pallas's Fish-Eagle builds a huge structure with sticks, lined with green leaves, rushes, straw and fine twigs. The nest is placed in tall tree near water. Both mates share the nest-building.

The female lays 2-4 white eggs and both adults (but mainly the female) incubate during 40-45 days. The chicks usually hatch two days apart, but the younger dies because it is not able to compete for food with the older chicks. They are fed by both parents but mainly by the male.
The young fledge 70-105 days after hatching, but they still depend on adults for food for one month.