Nature - King of the scandinavian skies

King of the scandinavian skies

The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is a very large species of sea eagle family widely distributed across temperate Eurasia. With wing-span measureing up to 2,50m across, the are the biggest eagles present in northern Europe. Like other eagles, white-tailed eagle is a member of the family Accipitridae (or accipitrids) which includes other diurnal raptors such as hawks, kites, and harriers. They build their nests in treetops or mountainsides, usually sticking to the same nest for several breeding seasons. They normally lay two eggs; the chick comes out after 38 days, and leaves the nest after 10–11 weeks.

Food habits
White-tailed eagles are versatile and opportunistic hunters and carrion feeders, sometimes pirating food from other birds and even otters. They eat largely fish, but also take various birds, rabbits and hares

Protected species
Today, the white-tailed eagle is a protected species most countries in Western Europe. From what is believed to have been a low point of approximately 500 breeding couples in Western Europe in 1975, Norway alone now has more than 2,000, thus the future is looking bright for those proud birds.



Further reading
White-tailed eagle is known as the ern or erne (depending on spelling by sources), gray sea eagle and Eurasian sea eagle. While found across a very wide range, today breeding as far west as Greenland and Iceland across to as far east as Hokkaido, Japan, they are often scarce and very spottily distributed as a nesting species, mainly due to human activities. These have included habitat alterations and destruction of wetlands, about a hundred years of systematic persecution by humans (from the early 1800s to around World War II) followed by inadvertent poisonings and epidemics of nesting failures due to various manmade chemical pesticides and organic compounds, which have threatened eagles since roughly the 1950s and continue to be a potential concern. Due to this, the white-tailed eagle was considered endangered or extinct in several countries.

White-tailed eagles usually live most of the year near large bodies of open water, including coastal saltwater areas and inland freshwater lakes, wetlands, bogs and rivers. It requires old-growth trees or ample sea cliffs for nesting, and an abundant food supply of fish and birds (largely water birds) amongst nearly any other available prey. Both a powerful apex predator and an opportunistic scavenger, it is considered a close cousin of the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), which occupies a similar niche in North America.