Sydney Sea-Eagles
             Identifying the difference



Note: This information relates to the pair of Sea-Eagles in Sydney Olympic Park and will not relate directly to all White-bellied Sea-Eagles.

EagleCAM is a BirdLife Australia, Southern NSW, Research Project.


In general terms female and male White-bellied Sea-Eagles look the same. If a mating pair of eagles are seen together it is general that the female will be larger than the male. However Sydney Olympic Park Sea-Eagles do have some slight noticeable differences. These are not easily spotted and change with the light and the angle of view.

Eagle Family  

These differences may vary as the breeding season progresses and/or if the eagles are wet after rain. We will endeavour to point out the differences.

First let’s introduce our family, on the right is the male, female is in the middle and a fledgling to the left. This shows how hard it is to tell the difference between female and male, as we show the finer points you will see.


          Underwing pattern -


when flying

Female flying showing fringe on underwing  

Female: The female when flying has a distinct light colour fringing on the underwing coverts. This difference in colouring may change during moult and as they get older, but as of 2013 this is still a positive identification method.

Male flying showing no fringe on underwing  

Male: The male when flying has little or no light colour fringing on the underwing coverts.


When on the nest

Male flying showing no fringe on underwing The female on the right has a distinctive mottled pattern on both shoulders (Lesser coverts). The male does not have these markings. These colourings are sometimes hard to see depending on the angle and the intensity of the light. Also, while these markings have been present up until 2012 they may change in the future with moulting. These are still visible today, 2016.

                Sea-Eagle Chicks from Sydney Olympic Park.

Year Study # Ustream # Leg Band Fledge Result
2003 SE1 N/A No Yes Gone
2004 - - - - No information recorded
2005 - - - - No information recorded
2006 - - - - No information recorded
2007 - - - - No information recorded
2008 SE2 N/A No Yes Deied in Care age 4 months
2009 SE3 N/A No Yes Gone
2009 SE4 N/A No No Died on nest
2010 SE5 N/A No Yes Gone
2010 SE6 N/A No Yes Gone
2011 SE7 S1 No No Died on the nest week 1
2011 SE8 S2 No Yes Gone
2012 SE9 S3 Right leg - Stainless Steel Yes Gone
2012 SE10 S4 Left leg- Stainless Steel Yes Gone
2013 SE11 - No No Egg failed to hatch
2013 SE12 - No No Egg failed to hatch
2014 SE13 - No No Died on the nest at 30 days
2014 SE14 - No No Egg failed to hatch
2015 SE15 - No No In care Taronga Wildlife Hospital
2015 SE16 - No Yes Gone
2016 SE17 - Yes Yes Gone
2016 SE18 - No No Died on the nest at day 10