Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Steller's Sea Eagle

Haliaeetus pelagic

Steller’s Sea Eagles are among the rarest raptors in the world due to their remote habitat. They are impressive in appearance, with a dark colored body, white tail and striking yellow bill.

Range & Habitat

Steller's sea eagles are believed to breed only in far eastern Russia, along the coasts and nearby islands of the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.  This species is most commonly found on the Kamchatka Peninsula.  It prefers rocky seacoasts and the rivers of northeastern Siberia in Russia.  In winter they migrate to Japan, where they are considered a national treasure.

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

They are listed as vulnerable because they are losing their native habitat in Russia due to hydroelectric power projects, logging and contamination of the rivers by chemicals from nearby industry.


In the Wild - Cod, salmon, crabs, shellfish, squid, small mammals, ducks, gulls, carrion.

At the Zoo: Chicken, rats, quail and rabbits.


Life Span

In the Wild - 20-25 years
In Human Care - 30+ years

Fun Facts about the Steller's Sea Eagle

  •  The Steller’s Sea Eagle is the largest of all sea eagles and the heaviest known eagle.  Its habits are not well known due to its remote habitat.
  •  Some of these birds stay in their Russian habitat all year long, while others migrate southward for the winter to the Kuril Island and to Hokkaido, Japan.  This is the only place in the world where Steller’s Sea Eagles are found.
  •  Steller’s Sea Eagles have binocular vision, having both eyes set on the front of its head to focus on the same thing, providing depth perception. This is very helpful when diving more than 100 feet to catch their prey!
  •  They are named for Georg Wilhelm Steller, an 18th century zoologist and explorer.

Sources – Steller’s Sea Eagle:

San Diego Zoo Global. (2021).

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World eBird site:

Updated March 12, 2021