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Stellar's Sea Eagle

Stellar's Sea Eagle
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-01-16
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of Prey- RAPTORS (III), Wildlife of Japan, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-02-04 8:13
Viewed: 6327
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This was one of the highlights of my Japanese trip as the Stellar's Sea Eagle usually reaches Japanese shores in february. I was lucky enough to see six. They are instantly recognisable because of their size and white wing bars.

The Steller's Sea Eagle, Haliaeetus pelagicus is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers. This is, on average, the heaviest eagle in the world, as it averages about 6.8 to 9 kg (15 - 20 lb), but may lag behind the Harpy Eagle and the Philippine Eagle in other measurements.

This bird breeds on the Kamchatka peninsula, the coastal area around the Sea of Okhotsk, the lower reaches of the Amur river and on northern Sakhalin and the Shantar Islands, Russia. The majority of birds winter further south, in the southern Kuril islands and Hokkaidō, Japan. That being said, the Steller's Sea-eagle is less vagrant than the White-tailed Eagle, usually lacking the long-range dispersal common in juveniles ofThis species is classified as Vulnerable. The main threats to its survival are habitat alteration, industrial pollution and over-fishing. The current population is estimated at 5,000 and decreasing.Two subspecies have been named: the nominate pelagicus, and the Korean Sea-eagle, Haliaeetus pelagicus niger. The latter name was given to the Korean population which was apparently resident all year and lacked white feathers except for the tail. Its validity is disputed; it may have been a morph and not a genetically distinct population. In any case, the Korean population of this species is extinct since the 1950s due to habitat loss and hunting.

The relationships of Steller's Sea-eagle are not completely resolved. mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data tentatively suggests that this species's ancestors diverged early in the colonization of the Holarctic by sea eagles. This is strongly supported by morphological traits such as the yellow eyes, beak, and talons shared by this species and the other northern sea-eagles, the White-tailed and Bald Eagles, and biogeography.

The large size (Bergmann's Rule) suggests that it is a glacial relic, meaning that it evolved in a narrow subarctic zone of the northeasternmost Asian coasts, which shifted its latitude according to ice age cycles, and never occurred anywhere else. It is unique among all sea eagles in having a yellow bill even in juvenile birds, and possessing 14, not 12, rectrices.

haraprasan, SelenE, nglen, Tabib, Arjun, fartash, jaycee, bahadir, eqshannon, CeltickRanger, kjpweb, rcrick, Evelynn, JPlumb, Ena, uleko has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To JPlumb: WorkshopJamesp 6 02-06 18:22
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi James,
A nice capture of this beautiful sea eagle flying action. Very nice details and a good blue bg. Very good composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-02-04 8:52]

Hi James. I can see why you say the highlight of you trip. its a fantastic looking bird . you were lucky to have seen them so early. you captured this one so well in flight. showing all the details so well. the bird looks so fine against the deep blue sky . Well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • Tabib Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 5 N: 167] (859)
  • [2008-02-04 8:54]

Great captured of Stellar's Sea Eagle in flight there James.
Good metering /exposure of this black/grey & white bird of prey. The white colour is not wash out and the background shows true blue.

Hi James
What a smashing shot of this Steller's Sea Eagle in flight. They looks really cool and big and only time I have seen one was @ zoo.
Well done and TFS

  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2008-02-04 9:30]

hi james,
very well capturd birrd in action.

Hello James
Wonderful shot of this Stellar's Sea Eagle,
Great focusing,exposure and BG,Welldone my friend.

Good Luck

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-02-04 9:59]

Hi James,

A wonderful shot of this flying eagle. Interesting pov really showing off the legs and the birds underparts. Beautiful colors - I love the white wing bars. Good details of the wings. A beautiful picture with the deep blue sky.


Hello James,
Thank you so much for the useful informative notes regarding this bird!
good captured with in flight bird in good clarity and details
well done

Hello James

Nice capture friend! TFS. Regards,

Very nicely done..I knew of a Stellers Hawk...this is one we do not have..this summer I am going to try my best...very nice lesson for me...and your notes are fine as well.

hello James

very nice inflight shot with a POV the underpart of this eagle,
excellent light on the subject with a good background,
and with this POV we can see very good details
of the plumage of his underpart, TFS


  • Great 
  • kjpweb Gold Star Critiquer [C: 326 W: 86 N: 1084] (4788)
  • [2008-02-04 13:22]

Excellent clarity and detail. Never heard of this eagle before - so TFS and Cheers, Klaus

Hi James,
Congratulations on a great shot, excellent in-flight action, stunning details, well seen, all the best Cheers Rick :)

hello james,
nice capture of the bird in flight, the dar blus sky makes a fine bg here, liked the composition,
well done,
tfs & regards

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-02-04 19:27]

Hello James,
Beautiful eagle, Don't have much time today
so I'm just marking.. Well done


  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-02-04 19:34]

Hello James,
Wow, thats one big eagle, I like the white leading wing edge, it's very distinctive along with the white flanks and tail. The details you have captured in the black plumage are great as well. Thank you for showing me this great species James.

How the heck you got this with that heavy lens is beyond me!!! You must be so strong. Beautiful work! Sorry that I have been so busy that I have missed some of your shots. I'll try to catch up.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-02-05 1:06]
  • [2]

Hi James,
This is wonderful... It is among my favorite raptors, and one of the birds that I like to see in the wild a lot. If I'm not mistaken this is the first stellars's sea eagle photo of Trek Nature that is taken in the wild.
Thanks for sharing this, and I'm hoping to see some more :o)
Best wishes

  • Great 
  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-02-05 2:06]

Hello James,
Beautiful capture. Very good POV!
Love the composition!

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-02-05 3:38]

Stunning shot James!
You've really taken a shining to these in-flight Raptor shots! :)
Man, I'd love to see one of these... they must have been so impressive! I remember seeing Golden Eagles in Scotland and was amazed at how large they were but Steller's Sea Eagles are one the biggest eagles in the world!
Excellent detail and great exposure.
Dynamic composition.
Very well done,

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-02-05 5:12]

Hello James,
Excellent in-flight of a Stellar's Sea Eagle. Even from this directly below POV one gets an idea of the massive beak that this great eagle has. Superb lighting, sharpness and composition against a blue sky.
Thanks for sharing this one,

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-02-05 9:17]

Hello James, great shot of this flying Eagle, nice pose, great exposure, very sharp and a perfect blue sky! Well done, thanks!


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-02-05 9:30]

Hello James,
Wow, this is a splendid in-flight capture of this large Eagle in fabulous colours. Beautiful light too and it looks most impressive against the blue sky.
TFS and regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-02-05 11:40]

Hello James.
What an excitement! One of the most beautiful birds in the world, in my opinion. I hope you got more photos of them. Great composition.

Hi James, I've never seen a Stellar's Sea Eagle, so this is a great introduction for me. The composition and details in this shot are great but I found it a tad dark, so have created a workshop to provide you with another option.

Edit Note: Since doing this critique I have discovered that my monitor may be out of calibration (too dark). This is something that we all should check once in a while. There are some Calibration Check bars at the bottom of the screen. In my case (with my "old faithful" monitor) I can't differentiate between 0-2. It's time for a new monitor. My apologies to James on my first review. I thought it was good to begin with, now I think its even better. I had also done a workshop. This has been removed.

Thanks, John

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-02-06 20:06]

Hello James

Wow what a great perspective.I am amazed you were right under this amazing bird.
The plumage detail is very well defined.
Excellent colours and lighting.
Well focused with sharp details.

Calibration Check