The White-tailed Eagle is a very large bird. It measures 66-94 cm (26-37 in) in length with a 1.78-2.45 m wingspan. This species has broad `barn door` wings, a large head and a large thick beak. The adult is mainly grayish-brown except for the slightly paler head and neck, blackish flight feathers, and distinctive white tail. All bare parts are yellow in color, including both the bill and the legs. In juvenile birds, the tail and bill are darker, with the tail becoming white with a dark terminal band in sub-adults. It is unmistakable with a combination of mousy-brown coloration, broad, evenly held wings, white tail, strong yellow bill and overall large size.
Habitat and Distribution
This large eagle breeds in northern Europe and northern Asia. Its largest population in Europe is found along the coast of Norway. They are mostly resident, only the northern most birds in eastern Scandinavia and Siberia migrate south in winter. Their preferred habitat is in sheltered coastal locations. Sometimes they are found inland by lakes and along rivers.
The White-tailed Eagle's diet is varied, opportunistic and seasonal. Prey includes fish, birds and mammals. Many birds live largely as scavengers. Carrion is often the primary food source during winter.
White-tailed Eagles are sexually mature at four or five years of age.The nest is a huge edifice of sticks in a tree or on a coastal cliff. The eggs are laid two to five days apart in March or April and are incubated for 38 days by both parents.