White-tailed eagle

species of bird

The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla[2]) — also called the sea eagle, erne, and white-tailed sea-eagle — is a large bird of prey.

White-tailed eagle
White tailed eagle raftsund square crop.jpg
At Raftsund, Lofoten/Norway.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Haliaeetus
H. albicilla
Binomial name
Haliaeetus albicilla
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Haliaeetus albicilla distribution map.png
Range of H. albicilla.      Nesting range     Wintering range     Year-round range

Falco albicilla Linnaeus, 1758
Falco melanaetos Linnaeus, 1766
Falco ossifragus Linnaeus, 1766
Haliaeetus albicilla albicilla
Haliaeetus albicilla groenlandicus

It is in the family Accipitridae, which includes other raptors, such as hawks and kites. It is a close cousin of the bald eagle, but it lives in Eurasia.


Adult, wild eagle from Svolvær, Norway showing its long, broad, fingered wings, heavy beak, and short wedge-shaped tail.
Haliaeetus albicilla.
Haliaeetus albicilla groenlandicus.

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 (5.8–8.0 ft) wingspan. The wingspan averages about 7 feet. This is the largest of any eagle.[3][4]


  1. BirdLife International (2016). "Haliaeetus albicilla". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22695137A93491570. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22695137A93491570.en. Retrieved 2 June 2018.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. Etymology: Haliaeetus, New Latin for "sea-eagle". albicilla, "white-tailed", from Latin albi- "white" + cilla, "tail".
  3. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (4th ed.). Washington, D.C.: National Geographic. 2002. ISBN 978-0792268772.
  4. Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. (2001). Raptors of the World. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-8026-1.