Status: Re-introduced to Killarney National Park in 2007. Formerly a widespread resident along all Irish coasts.
Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population has been evaluated as Rare, as there are currently less than 10,000 pairs breeding in Europe. Suffered large declines due to persecution and use of pesticides, but key populations in Europe are increasing. In Ireland, several re-introduced birds have been found dead due to ingestion of poisoned baits.
Identification: Together with Mute Swan, the largest resident bird species in Ireland. Has a wingspan of over two metres (six feet), with a body length of around 1 metre.
Similar Species: Golden Eagle, Common Buzzard.
Call: Usually silent away from the nest.
Diet: Feeds on carrion, such as dead sheep and seals, as well as fish caught after a spectacular dive. Less frequently takes medium-sized mammals, such as Hares and seabirds (Fulmar) from nesting sites.
Breeding: Does not currently breed in Ireland. It is expected that the re-introduced population will start breeding from 2012/2013 onwards. The last wild pair bred in County Mayo in 1912 and formerly a widespread breeding species. This is reflected in the prevalence of place names in western Ireland referencing "eagles".
Wintering: Resident. Young birds move to new territories after fledging.
Where to See: Killarney National Park in County Kerry offers the best chance to see the re-introduced birds. Tracking by GPS has shown that the released eagles have dispersed significantly and have been recorded in almost all Irish counties.
Monitored by: Golden Eagle Trust.