22May White Tailed Sea Eagles in the British Isles


The white-tailed sea eagle is the UK's largest bird of prey with a wing span of up to 2.2m. It was extinct in the UK but has been successfully reintroduced in Scotland from Norway and there are now around 40 pairs nesting. They can be seen off the Isle of Mull and the West Coast of Scotland, and there is also a reintroduction programme on the East Coast. 

A white tailed sea eagle's life span is about 21 years and they mate for life and breed in the same territory (which can be up to 70 square metres)  each year.

The eagles have a fairly interesting aerial courtship display - ending with the pair locking claws mid-air, whirling down towards the earth in a series of cartwheels,. They can often separate only a short distance above the ground or water and soaring upwards again. 

They eat largely fish, but also take various birds, rabbits and hares and are fairly opportunistic in habit. When fishing (like this one photographed by Mark), they fly low over water, stop to hover for a moment and drop to snatch fish from the surface.

Plans have been given the go ahead for a five year reintroduction programme based on the Isle of Wight on the south coast of England.

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