Haliaetus leucogaster, Gm.
43. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 84 ; Butler, Deccan and South Mahratta Country; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 373; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 259.
THE GREY-BACKED SEA EAGLE.
Female. :- Length, 30 ; expanse, 84; tail, 11.5 ; wing, 23 ; tarsus, 4; bill from gape, 2.65.
Male. :- Length, 26.75 ; expanse. 74 ; tail, 9.8; wing, 21; tarsus, 4; bill from gape, 2.4.
Bill, upper mandible pale leaden-brown, bluish at junction with cere ; lower mandible pale blue, brownish at tip; irides brown; cere and gape pale leaden color; legs and feet white, tinged more or less greenish-brown.
Adult: head, neck and entire under parts pure white ; mantle and wing pale blue grey quills and tail cinereous black, the latter broadly tipped with white.
The young bird has the mantle and wing-coverts brown, the white parts fulvous-white, tinged with rusty-brown, and dusky, especially on the head, breast and middle of the abdomen; and the tail is dark with spots and speckles.
Wings reach beyond the end of the tail, which is much rounded or somewhat wedge-shaped. Its talons have trenchant inner edges, and the feet are rough beneath.
The Grey-backed Sea Eagle is not uncommon on the Sea-coast. A large colony frequents and breeds upon Pigeon Island. They appear to subsist chiefly upon sea snakes, as the ground beneath their nests (which are generally built upon high trees) is strewed with their bones. It is also called the White-bellied Sea-Eagle.