White-bellied Sea Eagle sunbathing

posted in: Feathers-maintenance | 2


Johnny Wee came across a couple of White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) sunbathing at 11 am on 19th June 2007. The birds just sat quietly on the branch of a dead tree, spread their wings and soaked up the sun for about an hour (left). At that time it was sunny and windy.

Many members of the family Accipitridae to which hawks and eagles belong, spend most of their time during the day resting, in an effort to conserve energy. During these periods they just perch high up on a tree branch, sometimes on one leg, with the other drawn close to the belly. They may also indulge on preening. But they just sit and wait for an opportunity to pounce on a prey.


These raptors occasionally sunbathe in the early morning, spreading their wings to get the full benefit of the sun’s rays. After a rain storm they often spread their wings to be blown dry by the wind. These activities are usually done on a high, exposed perch. Any tall trees will do. In the rainforest they usually do so on the branches of emergent dead trees.

Johnny Wee
July 2007

Thiollay, J. M. (1994). Family Accipitridae (Hawks and Eagles). Pp. 52-205 in del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 2. New world vultures to guineafowl. Barcelona: Lynx Editions.

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