Haliaeetus albicilla 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Haliaeetus albicilla
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English White-tailed Sea-eagle, Grey Sea Eagle
Spanish Pigargo Coliblanco, Pigargo Coliblanco de Groenlandia, Pigargo Europeo
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Harding, M., Khwaja, N. & Ashpole, J
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in 10 years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2013 Least Concern (LC)
2012 Least Concern (LC)
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2005 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species has its strongholds in Norway and Russia (which together hold >55% of the European population (BirdLife International 2004), and important populations in south-west Greenland (to Denmark), Sweden, Poland and Germany. Smaller numbers breed in Iceland, United Kingdom, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav states, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, mainland China, and Japan. It formerly bred in Algeria and may still do so in Iraq.
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; China; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Greenland; Hungary; Iceland; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Nepal; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Slovakia; Slovenia; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan
United Kingdom
Bangladesh; Belgium; Bhutan; Cyprus; Egypt; Ireland; Italy; Lebanon; Luxembourg; Malta; Myanmar; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Saudi Arabia; Spain (Canary Is.); Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Thailand; Tunisia; United States (Georgia - Native)
Present - origin uncertain:
Faroe Islands; Tajikistan
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 2760000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 9,000-12,300 breeding pairs, equating to 17,900-24,500 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms 50-74% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 24,200-49,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. It is placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is increasing locally owing to conservation measures such as protecting eyries, providing safe (non-poisoned) food and re-introductions to certain areas such as Bavaria (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The European population is increasing (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend: Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 20000-49999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species requires large and open expanses of lake, coast or river valley, within the boreal, temperate and tundra zones, nearby to undisturbed cliffs or open stands of large, old-growth trees for nesting. Its food is vertebrates (fish, mammals and especially birds), from marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. It is mainly migratory in the north and east of its breeding range, wintering in continental Europe and southern Asia, but sedentary elsewhere. Birds are usually seen singly, or in twos or threes (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 17.5
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats that affect this species include loss and degradation of wetlands, human disturbance and persecution, environmental pollution, collision with wind generators (Krone and Scharnweber 2003), and indiscriminate use of poisons. Modern forestry methods reduce the availability of suitable nesting habitat (Orta et al. 2013). Organochlorine pesticide and heavy metal pollution resulted in reductions in breeding success, particularly in the Baltic region (Orta et al. 2013). Although some losses may be taking place in Asian Russia owing to increased logging and oil industry development, these are outweighed by increases in Europe.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. CMS Appendix I and II.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Haliaeetus albicilla. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22695137A80155303. . Downloaded on 02 December 2015.
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