1226. Polioaetus ichthyaetus

1226. Polioaetus ichthyaetus.

The Large Grey-headed Fishing-Eagle.

Falco ichthyaetus, Horsf. Tr, Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 136 (1821). Ichthyaetus horsfieldi, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xi, p. 110 (1842). Pontoaetus ichthyaetus, Blyth, Cat. p. 30; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xii, p. 101. Pandion ichthyaetus, Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 52. Polioaetus ichthyaetus, Kaup in Jardine's Cont. Orn. 1850, p. 73 ; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 81; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 243; 1872, p. 88; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 265 ; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 239; Jerdon, Ibis, 1871, p. 336; Hume, N. & E. p, 43; S. F. iii, p. 28; v, pp. 10, 129; xi, p. 11; id. Cat. no. 41; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. p. 452; Legge, S. F. iii, p. 362 ; id. Birds Ceyl. p. 72 ; Armstrong, S. F. iv, p. 298; Hume Dav. S. F. vi, p. 16; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 199; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 248; xi. p. 11, note ; Gurney, Ibis, 1878, p. 456; Bingham, S. F. viii, p. 191; ix, p. 144; Reid, S. F. x, p. 8 ; Oates, B. B. p. 221; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 39 ; Parker, Ibis, 1886, p. 183 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 167.

The White-tailed Sea-Eagle, Jerdon; Madhuya, H.; Machmoral, Beng.; Rajaliya, Cing.

Coloration. Head and neck all round ashy grey, with more or less distinct whitish shaft-stripes, crown of head and nape brownish; back and wings, rump, upper tail-coverts, and terminal 2 to 3 inches of tail dark brown, the upper back a little paler; breast rather lighter brown than back, abdomen and basal two-thirds of all tail-feathers white.

Young birds are light brown, with pale edges to the feathers, those of the head, neck, upper back, and lower parts with whitish shaft-stripes; the quills are barred, and the basal portion of the tail mottled brown and white.

Bill dark brown, basal two-thirds of lower mandible bright plumbeous; cere and iris brown; legs and feet china white ; claws black (Oates). Iris clear yellow, sometimes tinged with reddish and mottled with brown (Legge).

Length about 29 ; tail 11; wing 19 ; tarsus 3.7; bill from gape 2: males rather less. Ceylon and Malacca birds are rather smaller than those from Northern India and Burma.

Distribution. Throughout the greater part of the Peninsula of India, in suitable localities, from the base of the Himalayas, but not west of Delhi, nor in Sind, and rare to the southward. This species occurs also in Ceylon, throughout Burma, and in the Malay Peninsula and Islands as far as Java, Celebes, and the Philippines.

Habits, &c. This Fishing-Eagle haunts wooded rivers, large lakes, and backwaters, but is seldom found on the sea-coast. It has a peculiar deep resounding call, repeated three or four times. It lives chiefly on fish, which it swoops upon in its flight, not pouncing down on them like an Osprey, but it will, Jerdon says, occasionally carry off a wounded bird. Legge says that it seldom soars or takes long flights; it is commonly seen perched on a tree near water. It breeds from December to March, builds an immense nest of sticks, and lays two or three greyish-white eggs, measuring about 2.68 by 2.09.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
1226. Polioaetus ichthyaetus
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Large Grey Headed Fishing Eagle
Grey-headed Fish Eagle
Haliaeetus ichthyaetus
Vol. 3

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