White-tailed Eagle

Haliaeetus albicilla
Population status:
Least Concern
Body length:
74–92 cm (29-36 in)
193–244 cm (75.9-96 in)
3100–6900 g (109-243 oz)
White-tailed Eagle


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Did You Know?

  • The White-tailed Eagle is known by a few other names including Eurasian Sea Eagle and White-tailed Fish-eagle
  • This White-tailed Eagle doesn't have a white tail until it is eight years old. 

Other Eagles

How The Peregrine Fund is Helping

The Peregrine Fund is not working directly with White-tailed Eagles, but our conservation efforts through habitat protection, education, and community outreach extend to all raptor species, including this owl. We also supply literature to researchers from our avian research library, which helps scientists around the world gather and share important information on raptor conservation. We also have created the Global Raptor Impact Network, which gives raptor researchers tools to more efficiently conduct their own studies while contributing to a global program. GRIN also provides citizen scientists a way to participate in raptor science and conservation.

Where They Live

The White-tailed Eagle makes its home in a variety of habitats, but, it is usually found near water in river valleys, floodplains, and along sea- and lakeshores, or even out to sea. It spends time near fish farms. 

What They Do

If you find yourself in White-tailed Eagle habitat, be sure to keep an out for this beautiful raptor. It often perches in dead trees, on cliffs, on the ground, or on other low vantage points. It soars less often than other large raptors. Its flight style has been described as slow and clumsy.  

Why They Need Our Help

The White-tailed Eagle is categorized as a species of Least Concern.

What They Eat

This eagle feeds on a number of different species. It preys on fish, birds (ducks, gulls, partridges, coots), mammals (hares, muskrats), and carrion. When on the hunt, it catches fish from near the surface of the water. It doesn't plunge into the water like the Osprey. It uses other hunting techniques such as harassing waterbirds to exhaustion. It also scavenges, harasses other raptors in order to steal their food, and hangs around humans engaged in fishing activities to snag some tasty tidbits to eat. 

Nests, Eggs, and Young

This species builds a massive stick nest that it places high in a tree, or on a rocky cliff. Pairs will sometimes use the same nest year after year, adding new material each time. As you can imagine, over the years, the nests can grow quite large. The female will lay between 1 or 3. Eggs are white and unmarked

White-tailed Eagle and the World Center for Birds of Prey

The World Center for Birds of Prey offers fun ways to learn about raptors. Interactive activities, tours, interesting videos and a children's room with games, coloring sheets, quizzes and costumes await you. The visitor center has a few eagle species on display, including a Bald Eagle. This is a great chance to see this eagle up close and learn about the wonderful and interesting adaptations it has in order to survive – some of which are very similar to those of the White-tailed Eagle. There is also a touch table with bird feathers and other natural objects available for exploration. Come visit to learn more about all eagles, including the White-tailed Eagle.


Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 31 Dec. 2021

Orta, J., G. M. Kirwan, D. A. Christie, P. F. D. Boesman, and J. S. Marks (2020). White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.whteag.01