Fascinating Facts – Sea Eagles

Shutterstock / Mark Caunt © White-tailed eagle also known as Sea Eagles

Sea eagles or the white-tailed eagle is an exciting spot off the west coast of Scotland. Discover more about this rare bird…



1. They are the largest bird of prey in the UK! The sea eagle, or white-tailed eagle, is also the fourth largest eagle in the world. Its wingspan can reach up to 2.5 metres (8 feet).


2.  As the name suggests, sea eagles mainly eat fish. However, they will also often eat other birds and occasionally hunt small mammals.


3.  Whitetailed Eagles are closely related to Bald Eagles – America’s national bird. They occupy similar environmental conditions in the UK as the Bald Eagle does in North America.


4. Sightings are rare! Sea eagles can be found around any large areas of water or coastline, so if you spot one know you’re one of the few who have.


5. Sea eagles were made extinct in Britain by 1918 due to illegal killing! They were first reintroduced to Scotland in 1975 on the Isle of Rum. 80-90 white-tailed sea eagles now live in Scotland, protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.



WHERE TO FIND THEM: Following reintroduction, the sea eagle was confined to the west coast of Scotland, however, a reintroduction programme is now underway in the east. Spot them on the Isle of Rum, Mull and Skye, as well as other west coast regions.


You can read Jim Crumley’s Scottish wildlife columns online here, and each month in The Scots Magazine.

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