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Sydney Olympic Park - Sea-Eagles

History - 2018
EagleCAM is a BirdLife Australia, Southern NSW, Research Project.

Report on the 2018 nesting of the White-bellied Sea-Eagles

Birdlife Australia - Southern NSW Research team
Judy Harrington, Geoff Hutchinson, Jon Irvine.
We acknowledge the essential assistance from the current EagleCAM team - Judy Harrington, Geoff Hutchinson, Bob Oomen and Chris Bruce, for camera installation and maintenance and Shirley McGregor for managing the daily operations.
Special thanks to Dasha, Marsha and Pat, for monitoring nesting observations and Dasha & Helen for camera operations.
Additionally, we also have a wonderful team of volunteers including Facebook admins, chat moderators, ground observers and more (too many to mention here).
Above all, thank you to our Supporters, for funding this project.


In the 2018 breeding season, the resident pair of White-bellied Sea-Eagles nested in the Nature Reserve forest, and 2 eggs were laid. The study again revealed delayed incubation between the laying of the two eggs. The smaller chick died at just over 4 weeks from hatch, as a result of sibling rivalry, after limited food was brought to the nest for a week. The surviving chick grew to fledge. After an accident when her wing was caught in a branch, she was taken into care and eventually released after successful rehabilitation.


There has been a Sea-Eagle nest in the Newington Nature Reserve at Sydney Olympic Park by the Parramatta River for many years, with a succession of eagle pairs renovating the nest in the breeding season. There are few early records of successful breeding however and several eagles were found dead. Following the death of a pair of breeding eagles in 2004, necropsy and chemical analysis of tissues was undertaken in order to determine the cause of death. Further study was recommended. Their success or failure appears to be closely linked with environmental conditions, particularly the accumulated Persistent Organic Pesticides in Homebush Bay and the Parramatta River.

As in previous years since 2009, the breeding relationships, behaviour and diet of the White-bellied Sea-Eagles were studied using video CCTV cameras and by limited physical observation during daylight hours, from the time of nest renovation to fledging and beyond where possible. In early 2018 a new Research Proposal was submitted and all approvals gained.
The White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster (Gmelin 1788) is currently listed as a Vulnerable Species in NSW. (Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Gazetted date: 16 Dec 2016 Profile last updated: 01 Dec 2017).
In the period of this study, the breeding success has been around 50%, with an average of one juvenile successfully fledged each season.


SE-21 hatched on 21 July 2018 at 3:00pm, taking some 26 hours from pip. This was 40 days from lay, or on the 39th day after delayed or only partial incubation of the first egg for some 36 hours from lay, with the egg uncovered for nearly 20 hours total initially during that period.
SE-22 hatched on 23 July 2018 at 6:30am. The eggs laid 73 hours apart and hatched 37 hours apart.

SE-21 chick      SE-21 and SE-22 chicks
SE-21                                                            SE-21 front - SE-22 back.

For the complete report see
Sea-EagleCAM Study 2018