Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Red List criteria met
Red List history
IUCN Red list criteria met and history
||not a migrant
||Does not normally occur in forest
|Land mass type
Population justification: The global population was previously thought to number c.1,000-10,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The population in China has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs (Brazil 2009). In Australia, based on a population density of one pair per 40 km, the population is thought to number at least 500 pairs, but this is likely to be a significant underestimate (Department of the Environment 2020). In Hong Kong, 57 birds were thought to be present in 2010 (So and Lee 2010), with a recent estimate also of 15 breeding pairs (Y-T. Yu in litt. 2020). Based on several surveys along the Rakhine coast, Mawdin coast (south of Rakhine), Ayeyarwady delta, Mon State and Tanintharyi, the species is thought to be about 100-120 pairs in Myanmar (C. Zöckler in litt. 2020). In Singapore, 10-15 pairs have been reported (Y. Ding Li in litt. 2020). On account of its widespread occurrence, the overall population has also recently been considered to exceed 10,000 individuals (S. Garnett in litt. 2020). Based on all available information, the population size is here placed in the band of 2,600-41,000 mature individuals.
At least 3 subpopulations are also thought to exist in India (West Coast, East Coast, and the Andamans; S. Quader, Praveen J and A. Viswanathan in litt. 2020), however the overall population structure is unknown.
Trend justification: In Hong Kong, the population is also thought to have increased from 23 adults in 2003 (Siu-Tai et al. 2003) to 30 adults in 2009 (So and Lee 2010).
In Australia, the population size is thought to be declining, based on local declines and range contractions mainly reported in the 1980s and 1990s in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, although populations in the northern and remote tropical regions are thought to be stable (Department of the Environment 2020). In Victoria, the species is suspected to have declined due to the clearing of coastal forests for agricultural and urban expansion (Clunie 1994). However, an analysis of data from three Australian Bird Atlases found no significant difference in the spatial extent of occupancy between 1901-1976, 977–1981 and 1998–2001 (Shephard et al. 2005), and the reporting rate has been approximately stable since 2000 (BirdLife Australia 2020).
Recent information from the State of India's Birds (2020) suggests that the species has undergone a 72.59% decline in India in the past 25 years (C.I. 20.29%), which may equate to a reduction of 83% (C.I. 63-97%) over three generations (33.9 years). Over the last five years, an annual decline of 5.89% (C. I. 10.98%) has been estimated, which may equate to a reduction of 87% over three generations from 2015, but is highly uncertain. Further analysis of trends in India estimated a minimum decline of 12.23% between 2007-2018 and a best estimate of a 49.81% decline (S. Quader, Praveen. J and A. Wiswanathan in litt. 2020). These estimates may translate to a 33% and 88% decline respectively over a three-generation period.
Overall, there is little clear quantified evidence for a population decline (Y. Ding Li in litt. 2020). Accounting for significant declines within India or other localised declines, the overall population is nonetheless thought to be undergoing marginal reductions owing to human disturbance, shooting, poisoning, loss of suitable breeding sites caused by clearance of waterside forests and, possibly, over-use of pesticides (Ferguson-Lees and Christies 2001).
Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Haliaeetus leucogaster. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2022.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2022.