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White-tailed sea eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla

White-tailed sea eagles are the largest of all European eagles and are broader and more vulture-like than golden eagles.

The birds were widespread in Scotland and Ireland but, following persecution, they became extinct in Britain in 1916.

They were reintroduced to the island of Rhum in 1975 and are now scattered along the west coast of Scotland.

One of the chicks bred at Belfast Zoo was part of a successful reintroduction programme in Israel.

Animal class


Conservation status

The IUCN believe that the white-tailed sea eagle is not in any danger of extinction in the imminent future.




Experts believe that there are between 5,000 to 7,000 white-tailed sea eagles living in the wild. Their numbers appear to be recovering and growing over recent years.


Carnivore. These eagles eat mainly fish and carrion but will also eat other birds.