Now that the eagles have landed in their new home at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, I thought it would be good to update our Steller’s sea eagle fact sheet. So here you go!
At the Assiniboine Park Zoo:
- The relocation of our sea eagles places them into the Asian area of the Assiniboine Park Zoo, across the path from our Amur tigers.
- Our male came to us in 2006 from the Lieberec Zoo in the Czech Republic. He was born in 2005.
- Our female came to us in 2005 from the Tallinn Zoo in Estonia. She was born in 2003.
- Scientific name means “Eagle of the open seas”
- The Steller’s sea eagle has been designated a national treasure in Russia. They are also honoured in Japan where they are known as “O-Washi”.
- Persecuted by hunters and poachers for stealing trapped animals.
- They are diurnal (active during the day)
- Adult eagles have about 7000 feathers.
- They are named after Georg Steller (1709-1746), a German biologist. He also lent his name to the Steller’s jay, Steller’s sea lion (endangered), Steller’s eider (a type of duck – vulnerable), and the Steller’s sea cow (extinct).
Status in the Wild: Vulnerable
- Wild population estimated at 5000 and dropping according to the IUCN.
- The wild population is declining due to habitat loss, water pollution (from DDT/PCB’s), over-fishing (loss of prey), lead shot hunting (lead poisoning from scavenging) and other factors.
- Steller’s sea eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus) are one of eight species of sea eagle
- The Steller’s sea eagle is also known as the Pacific eagle and the white-shouldered eagle.
- The Steller’s sea eagle is considered the most powerful and aggressive of its cousins, the bald eagle and the white-tailed sea eagle
- This group frequent coasts, lakes and rivers
- This species is dark brown but dramatically coloured when mature with a white tail, white shoulders, white rump, and white thighs
Height, Weight, Length:
- Males: weigh up to 6kg
- Females: weigh up to 9kg
- Females average 2 to 4kg larger than males
- Steller’s sea eagles are amongst the largest and heaviest eagles in the world. They are similar in size to the Philippine eagle and the harpy eagle from South America.
- Adult Steller’s have an average wingspan of 2.3 metres (7.5 ft)
- Females have a larger wingspan than males
- Sea eagles stand 85 to 94cm high
- Russia: Kamchatka / Amur river, Northern Korea, China and Japan
- Breeds in Russia and over winters in Japan
- 4 to 5 years for sexual maturity
- 6 to 8 years for adult plumage
Sea Eagle Diet:
- 80% fish (e.g. cod), 10% birds (ducks, gulls), 5% mammals, and 5% other (crabs, shellfish, squid, carrion)
- Like other eagles, Steller’s also steal food from other birds.
- Four Steller’s sea eagle hunting techniques have been recorded:
1. Diving off a perch for food
2. Flying over the water and picking up food
3. Wading in shallow water for food
4. Stealing food from other birds, a practice known as “kleptoparasitism”
- IUCN Redlist, Arkive, Birdlife International, San Diego Zoo, National Geographic Society, Assiniboine Park Zoo Education Library
- Revised May 3, 2010
Compiled by Scott Gray, Education Director