Haliaetus albicilla, Lin.
42bis. :- Murray's- Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 83; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 253.
THE EUROPEAN WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE.
Length, 36 ; expanse, 72 ; wing 24; tail, 11.5 ; tarsus, 4.
Length, 40; expanse, 80 ; wing, 27.5 ; tail, 12; tarsus, 4.5.
Male. :- The cere and bill are pale yellow ; the irides bright yellow; the tarsi and toes gamboge; the claws black with a tinge of greyish-blue ; the plumage of the head, neck, forepart of the back and breast, with the upper wing-coverts greyish-yellow; the feathers all greyish-brown at the base, of the other parts greyish-brown, edged with yellowish-grey; the scapulars and feathers of the rump glossed with purple, those of the abdomen, tibiae, and subcaudal region inclining to chocolate-brown ; the quills and alular feathers brownish-black, with a tinge of grey; the inner secondaries inclining to greyish-brown ; the shafts of all white towards the base ; the lower surface of the quills and the larger coverts tinged with greyish-blue ; upper tail-coverts and the tail are white, (generally freckled with dusky grey at the base); the down on the breast is pale grey, that on the sides darker.
Female. :- The female does not differ from the male in color, and her superiority in size is often not remarkable.
Young. :- The bill is brownish-black; the cere greenish-yellow ; the feet yellow; the claws black ; the bases of all the feathers are brownish-white ; their middle parts light reddish-brown ; their tips only blackish-brown; the head and nape are dark brown; each feather with a minute brownish-white spot on the tip; on the middle of the back and on the wings light reddish-brown is the prevalent color; the black tips of comparatively small extent; on the third part of the back there is much white, that color extending further from the base; the quills and larger wing-coverts are blackish-brown, with a tinge of grey; the tail feathers brownish-white in the centre, black towards the margins, with irregular white dots ; the lower parts are of the same color as the back, or are pale reddish-brown, marked with longitudinal streaks and spots of dark brown; the lower wing-coverts brown; the tail-coverts white, with light-brown tips.
Progress towards Maturity. :- In the second year the young exhibits little difference, being, however, of a darker tint on the back and wings. An individual at this age has the bill brownish-black, tinged with blue; its base and the cere greenish-yellow; the iris hazel-brown; the feet gamboge; the claws brownish-black; the head and nape are dark brown; the base of all the feathers, on the upper parts, is white ; on the hind-neck and foreparts of the back that color, tinged with yellowish-brown, prevails, a lanceolate of obovate deep brown spot, being on each feather towards the end ; on the middle of the back the brown prevails, on the hind part white, and the rump and upper tail-coverts are light brown, tipped darker; the scapulars are dark brown with a purplish tinge; the wing-coverts dark brown at the end, but most of the larger pale brown in the greater part of their extent; the quills black, with a purplish-grey tinge, the secondaries gradually becoming more brown, and all faintly variegated with light grey and brown on the inner webs; the tail is brownish-black, with a tinge of grey, and more or less finely mottled with whitish ; the lower parts may be described as brownish-white, longitudinally streaked with dark brown, there being a lanceolate patch of the latter on each feather ; the lower wing-coverts and feathers of the legs dark brown ; the lower surface of the quills bluish-grey; the lower tail-coverts white, tipped with brown ; the down on the breast pure white.
Remarks. :- In this species the bill and iris change from dusky-brown to pale yellow, and the plumage, at first white at the base, and dark brown at the end, gradually loses its white, while the dark parts become paler and more extended, the final coloring being more uniform.
The tail forms no exception, for its basal white also diminishes but the white, which is gradually substituted for the brownish-black, spreads from near the end to the base. :- Macgillivray.
The European White-tailed Sea Eagle occurs along the banks of the Indus; they are mostly immature specimens.