White-tailed Eagle

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White-tailed Eagle
Conservation status: Lower risk (nt)
White-tailed Eagle
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Falconiformes
Family:Accipitridae
Genus:Haliaeetus
Species:H. albicilla
Binomial name
Haliaeetus albicilla
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is a very large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which includes other raptors such as hawks, kites and harriers. It is sometimes known as the (Grey) Sea Eagle or Erne.

This is a very large eagle which breeds in northern Europe and Asia. It has been successfully re-introduced to Scotland.

Birds in the south of its range are resident, but the most northerly birds move further south in winter.

The eagle's diet is varied, including fish, birds, rodents, and sometimes carrion.

This is a huge bird with broad "barn door" wings, large head and thick beak. The adult is mainly brown except for the distinctive white tail and the yellow bill. In juvenile birds the tail is darker.

Adult females have a wingspan of approximately 2.4 meters. Males are smaller than the females.

White-tailed Eagles are sexually mature at 4 or 5 years of age. The nest is a huge edifice of sticks in a tree or coastal cliff. Nests are reused if undisturbed.

Mated pairs produce between one or two eggs per year, but it is rare for both chicks to successfully fledge. Thus, surplus chicks are sometimes removed from nests to use in reintroduction programs in areas where the species has died out.

In such programs, the birds are raised in boxes on platforms in the tree canopy and fed in such a way that they cannot see the person supplying their food, until they are old enough to fly and thus find their own food.

Sea eagles are more social than many other raptor species: an adult eagle looking for a nesting site is more likely to select a location that contains other immature eagles than one with no eagle population.

This eagle is believed to be the one in Polish Coat of Arms.

See also

sv:Havsörn nl:Zeearend pl:Bielik

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