White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla, also known as the Sea Eagle, are large raptors that were once natives of Irish shores. Unfortunately in the late 19th and early 20th Century populations declined due to persecution and poisoning which led to their extinction in Ireland. Now part of an exciting re-introduction program there is a pair resident around Garnish Island!
White-tailed Eagles are heavy, broad-winged birds with a characteristic rectangular shape in flight. Along with the short, wedge-shaped tail, adults in flight appear particularly vulturine in shape. Immature sea eagles have slightly longer tails and flight feathers than adults but these feathers are replaced over their successive moults.
Sea eagles are usually closely associated with water, nesting and foraging often close to large, highly productive inland waterbodies (lakes, rivers) and lowland marshes. However, in western Europe they are predominately coastal or marine, nesting on or near sea-cliffs and offshore islands. Trees are highly preferred as nest sites in Norway although, in places lacking trees and cliffs, birds will also nest on the ground.