Eagle at the Louisville Zoo

Eagle, Steller’s Sea

Breed in eastern Russia, around the Sea of Okhotsk and on the Kamchatka Peninsula. A small number of birds remain in Kamchatka over the winter but the majority fly south to the Japanese Islands of Kuril and Hokkaido. This species is occasionally seen in China and in North & South Korea.

Mostly found on sea coasts or along large rivers not far inland.

Females are noticeably larger. Females weigh up to 20 pounds and males
up to 13 pounds. Wingspan can be 7.5 to 8 feet.



  • They start to build large bulky nests in the trees in late February and early March. The first eggs are laid in mid-April.
  • Clutch sizes can be up to three, but generally one or two.
  • Hatchlings emerge in mid-May to mid-June and begin to fly by August and early September.
  • The breeding periods varies from region to region, depending on climate and availability of food.
  • They acquire full adult plumage at about four years of age.

Wild: Feed predominantly on salmon, dead or alive. Will also prey on other fish and the carcasses of animals such as seals and sea lions.
Zoo: Herring, rats, mice, chicks and sometimes rabbits.


  • Usually solitary in the southern part of its range, but more likely to congregate in numbers together on salmon rivers.
    In winter, juveniles sometimes frequent slaughterhouses, scavenging offal.
    Their nests are huge structures used year after year, built in large trees or occasionally on crags or smaller trees. Deciduous and coniferous trees are both used.
    Where there are large congregations of prey such as salmon, groups of eagles will gather and individuals will often attempt to steal food from each other in a behavior known as ‘kleptoparasitism.’


  • One of the largest of the sea and fish eagles of the genus Halaieetus.
  • The feathers on the shoulders, tail and legs are white. They have an enormous, strongly arched yellow bill.
  • They have a deep-toned barking cry, “ra-ra-ra-raurau”. In display it utters a loud, gull-like call.
  • Researchers have been studying habitat use and how this correlates to their migration,seasonal changes, and food availability.

Classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List 2002. Listed on Appendix II of CITES and Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species. Their most pertinent threat is habitat loss from logging and coastal development. Salmon stocks have been depleted in much of their range, which in turn threatens  population numbers.


  1. http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/birds/Haliaeetus_pelagicus/more_info.html