Steller’s Sea Eagle (also known as Pacific Eagle or White-shouldered Eagle) is the heaviest eagle in the world and one of the biggest in size. He’s a monster. He lives in coastal areas of North Eastern Asia and eats fish and birds. On top of all that he looks mighty fine.
He can weigh up to 9 kilograms, which is about the same weight as 18 cans of beer. He’s about a metre in length and can have a wingspan of around 2.5 metres which is roughly the same as the Philippine Eagle and the Harpy Eagle, both of which are also big old boys.
Steller’s Eagles mostly breed in the isolated and beautiful region of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. They eat a variety of food but they absolutely love salmon. Often they eat salmon that have died after spawning, they make a nice easy catch.
Some Steller’s Eagles have been seen to steal baby chicks of murres and cormorants. These babies then live off of fish remains in the nest for a certain period of time before becoming lunch themselves. It’s a pretty cool way of keeping your meal fresh until you are hungry enough to eat it (they don’t have freezers you see).
The eagles aren’t fussy eaters and along with their fish and seabird lunches they’ve been known to eat voles, mussels, domestic dogs, worms, squid, mink and fox. When you’re as big as them you need any food you can get, but you’re big enough that you can catch any food you need. Some have reported them carrying off seal pups, the pup’s estimated weight was 9.1 kg and if that weight is correct it’s a record load carried by a bird.
Golden, Bald and White-tailed Eagles all compete for food with Steller’s Eagles. Sometimes they simply share without paying much attention to each other, but when times are harsher there can be battles. Here’s a ruckus between a Steller’s and a White-tailed eagle:
The eages build massive aeries which are big, 2 metre wide, scruffy twig nests. Sometimes as much as 45 metres off the ground in trees. They use multiple nests situated hundreds of metres apart.
Steller’s Sea Eagles are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). They are legally protected, being classified as a National Treasure in Japan and mostly occur in protected areas in Russia. Once a Steller’s Eagle is fully grown it has no natural predators thanks to its massive size and aggressive nature. The estimated global population is assumed to comprise around 32,000 breeding pairs.
So there you go, what a mighty fine beast. More birds here: