BIRDS OF ICELAND : Haliaeetus albicilla, White-tailed Eagle

Haliaeëtus albicilla; Sea Eagles, or White-tailed Eagles are not very common on Iceland. However they have escaped extinction in the western part of the region from prosecution by man during the first half of this century. To date they are well protected and numbers are rising. The main breeding area is the island-rich Breiðfjörður region in the west. It is the largest bird of prey on Iceland with its massive 2 to 2.5 meter wingspan (hence the nick name "flying doors"). In comparison to other European birds of prey only the golden eagle comes close to these dimensions. Their general color is dark brown and they have white tails. Young birds miss the characteristic white tails have black beaks in stead of the yellow beaks of the adults. They start breeding quite early (in Iceland eggs are laid in April but elsewhere in Europe they start breeding as early as February). The young inexperienced birds feed on much fish carrion but as they learn the skill of hunting they will not only catch fish but also larger prey. Catching lambs has given them their bad name amongst farmers, but it has to be stated that this happens only occasionally.

A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise
Other various species

Other various species

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Natural History of Iceland Site  in Dutch

Natural History of Iceland Site  Dutch