1225. Haliaetus albicilla.
The White-tailed Sea-Eagle.
Vultur albicilla (errore albiulla), Linn. Syst. Nat. p. 123 (1766). Haliaetus albicilla, Leach, Syst. Cat. Mamm. &c. B. M. (1816) p. 9; Hume, Ibis, 1870, p. 438; 1871, p. 404; S. F. i, p. 159; vii, p. 341; id. Cat. no. 42 bis ; Jerdon, Ibis, 1871, p. 336; Blyth, His, 1872, p. 87 ; A. Anderson, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 78; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 302 ; Murray, Vert. Zool. Sind, p. 83; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 40. Haliaetus pelagicus, Hume, Rough Notes, p. 253 ; nec Pallas. Haliaetus brooksi, Hume, Rough Notes, p. 255 (1870); id. Ibis, 1870, p. 438.
Coloration. Upper plumage brown ; the head, neck, and smaller coverts paler, sometimes almost whity brown, with narrow dark shaft-stripes; quills blackish; lower parts paler than upper, palest on the chin, throat, and fore-neck, many feathers with pale tips; tail white except at the extreme base.
The young are brown, sometimes very dark, sometimes pale; the basal portion of all feathers fulvous or white, and usually exposed, on the lower parts especially; tail-feathers white, more or less mottled and edged with brown.
Cere and bill yellow in adults; cere yellowish brown, bill black in young birds; iris yellow (brown in the young); feet yellow. There is a slight ruff of lanceolate feathers, far less distinct than in H. leucoryphus, and the end of the tail is wedge-shaped, the middle feathers being considerably longer than the outer.
Length of a female 34 inches; tail 13 ; wing 26; tarsus 4.5; bill from gape 3. Males are rather less, wing 24.5.
Distribution. All Europe and Northern Asia, also Greenland. In India this bird appears to be a cold-weather visitant to the Punjab, North-west Provinces, and Sind.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of other fishing Eagles. In India this species has been observed to haunt large marshes. It feeds mainly on fish.