This species has a small, declining population as a result of the widespread loss, degradation and disturbance of wetlands and breeding sites throughout its range. The global population is now estimated to be considerably lower than was previously thought, and is now thought to comprise a single, migratory subpopulation. It has therefore been uplisted to Endangered. This species was previously thought to be a migratory breeder north of the Himalayas, with a stronghold in Mongolia, and a resident population in the Indian subcontinent, recent evidence and re-evaluation of historical data has since suggested that this is not, and may never have been, the case. Surveys in Mongolia between 2005-2009 found the species to be absent from 13 of 21 historically known sites (Gilbert et al. 2014), and found very little evidence for the species breeding anywhere north of the Himalayas. Further surveys in Mongolia between June-August in 2012-2015 similarly found no evidence of breeding (M. Steele in litt. 2017). The species may instead breed only in northern India (apparent strongholds in Assam and Uttarakhand), Bangladesh and Myanmar, with very small numbers in Bhutan, dispersing north of the Himalayas to Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia in its non-breeding season (May to September). There is no recent record of breeding in Afghanistan (S. Ostrowski in litt. 2017), the current status in Pakistan appears to be uncertain, and there is uncertainty around the extent of any historical breeding in central China, though virtually all Chinese records also fall outside of the time of year the species has been confirmed breeding, and while there are many records of adults and juveniles together, there is a notable lack of records of nests or collected eggs from north of the Himalayas. Further evidence for this hypothesis comes from recent telemetry studies which confirmed connectivity between India and Mongolia (Steele 2017, M. Steele in litt. 2017). Formerly considered one of the most numerous Asian raptors, declines were first noticed as early as the 1960s. Long term declines are well known from the west of the range, and the species is now virtually extirpated from former sites in west Asia. Analysis of recent records from India and Bangladesh are also indicative of a substantial decline throughout the historic range (Gilbert et al. 2014, S. U. Chowdhury in litt. 2017, M. Steele in litt. 2017).
BirdLife International. 2017. Haliaeetus leucoryphus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22695130A119358956. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T22695130A119358956.en. Downloaded on 11 February 2018.