Often confused with young golden eagle, with its white base (i.e. closest to body) to the tail, but White-Tailed Sea Eagle tail is white at other end. Young White-Tailed Sea Eagle has almost no white on tail. Young are dark brown all over. Mature birds are grey-brown, head & neck being slightly paler & white tail, eyes bright lemon coloured.. Mature colouring at around 5 yrs old.
Broader winged than Golden Eagle.
Once fairly extensively found round coast of Britain, wiped out by early 1900's. Breeding pair in Isle of Wight in 1780 (2 young), some in Lake District till early 1800's. Last pair nesting in Isle of Skye in 1916. Found in coastal regions of western Scotland. Found throughout western Europe (down to mediterranean) & Asia (as far east as China). Small population in Iceland & Greenland.
Reintroduction to Scotland was first attempted, unsuccessfully, in 1959, with 3 birds. One was a tame adult, which prefered the company of people (regularly posing for tourists along the Argyll coast) & was recaptured & returned to Edinburgh zoo (see box opposite). One of the other young was killed in a fox trap & the fate of the third is unknown. A second attempt was made in 1968, 4 birds being released on Fair Isle, all died or dispersed fairly quickly. Another attempt, which appears to be having some degree of success was started in 1975 on the Isle of Rum. Between 1975 & 1985, a total of 82 young birds were released (39 male/43 female), which dispersed extensively along the west coast of Scotland (2 went to Northern Ireland). First successfully hatched & fully fledged young bird was in 1984. The birds from the latter two attempts came from Norway. In May 2002, the RSPB reported that the population was around 100, including 12 breeding pairs. Unfortunately, this information was included in the report of the discovery of a poisoned juvenile, the RSPB were of the belief that it was deliberate.
Rather sociable. Often feed & roost in groups. Courtship starts at around 4-5yrs.
In the wild, the oldest known White-Tailed Sea Eagle was 27 when it died. In captivity, the oldest recorded bird was 42, it was totally blind. The first White-Tailed Sea Eagles to breed in captivity were at the Vienna Zoom in 1961, the pair continued to raise chicks until 1969. Other zoos have been successful since.
Anglo-Saxons believed that the bones of sea-eagles possessed remarkable curative properties. Unfortunately, bird bones do not contain any marrow.
The Faroese believed that the claws of sea-eagles cured jaundice.
Least Concern (LC)
Mor-eryr (Sea Eagle - [NOT Big Eagle thanks to Sion Owain Jones])|
Eryr cynffonwyn (White Tailed Eagle)
Iolar mara (Sea Eagle)|
Seeadler (Sea Eagle)|
Aquila di mare|
o-jiru washi (White Tailed Eagle)|