White-bellied Sea Eagles have a white head, rump and underparts, and dark or slate-grey back and wings. In flight, the black feathers on the wings are easily seen when the birds are viewed from below. The large, hooked bill is a leaden blue-grey with a darker tip, eyes are dark brown, and long black talons. Like many raptors, the female is slightly larger than the male.
White-bellied Sea Eagles are monogamous where pair remain together until one bird dies. During this time a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles perform skillful displays of flying such as diving, gliding, and chasing each other while calling loudly. The female usually lays a clutch of 2 dull, white, oval eggs that are incubated over 6 weeks before hatching. Eaglets usually fledged when they 70 to 80 days old, and remain around the parents’ territory for up to 6 months or until the following breeding season.
A malay named burung hamba siput “slave of the shell fish”, malay tales told of the White-bellied screaming at the turning of tides to warn the shellfish. White-bellied Sea Eagle is also the emblem of the state Selangor. Sadly, White-bellied Sea Eagles have declined in parts of Southeast Asia such as Thailand and Southeastern Australia. Human disturbance to their habitat is the main threat, both from direct human activity near nest which impacts on breeding success and from the removal of suitable nesting trees.