Steller’s Sea Eagle: ecology, evolution and conservation

Steller’s Sea Eagle: ecology, evolution and conservation

M. A. Menzbier Russian Society for Bird Conservation and Study, Moscow State University and the Institute of Mathematical Problems of Biology RAS, the Eurasian Regional Association of Zoos and Aquariums with financial support of Exxon Neftegas Limited have published a monograph by Vladimir Masterov and Mikhail Romanov on the Steller's sea eagle.

The book summarizes the results of many years of research on the biology and ecology of Steller's sea eagle – endemic species of the Far East of Russia, the largest representative of sea-eagle genus (Haliaeetus), and one of the most spectacular eagles.  Materials for the book were collected on Sakhalin, in the south-western Priokhotie and Lower Amur region.

The remoteness of the Far East provided these birds of prey with protection from the human interference for a long time. However, the situation changed. As the need in carbohydrates grows, their production reaches the most remote corners. Large oil and gas fields have been discovered on the Okhotsk sea shelf, which significantly coincides with the Steller's sea eagle nesting area. Forest and mining industries led to degradation of rivers, reduction of forest ranges which was made worse by the forest fires and as a result ecological capacity of the environment for the sea eagles has been reduced catastrophically.

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The large size, limited energy budget, high sensitivity to interference and low reproduction rates make Steller's sea eagle particularly vulnerable. Due to close connection to the coasts and dependence on "optimal-sized prey" they are especially sensitive to changes in their habitats. The harsh climate and unpredictable nature of food resources led to the development of strategy focused primarily on the conservation of adult birds capable of reproduction. High death rate of immature birds, late puberty and slow reproduction rates reduce the chances of rapid population recovery in the event of critical decline in numbers. That is why reaching compromise between industrial development and sea eagle conservation is not easy. The survival prospects of this unique species depend first and foremost on ecologically responsible approach to the development of natural resources in its habitat.

The book is addressed to a wide range of readers: professional biologists, ecologists, conservationists, business managers, biology students as well as anyone interested in nature.

Since its publication the book has become a sort of ornithological best-seller: the second, revised edition was published in English in November, 2018.

Bibliographic data:

Masterov V. B., Romanov M. S. Steller's sea eagle

Haliaeetus pelagicus: ecology, evolution, conservation. M.:

Товарищество научных изданий КМК. 2014. 384 с.

Steller's sea eagle nestlings. Photo By V. B. Masterov.

Checking the nest of the Steller's sea eagle.

Photo By V. B. Masterov.

In 2019 the English version of the monograph "Steller's Sea Eagle" won a prestigious US Wildlife Society award for Book of the Year.

Project manager: Vladimir Borisovich Masterov (haliaeetus @

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