The white-tailed eagle, also known as the sea eagle, was once a common sight in the UK until the early 20th century.

Following an intense and sustained period of persecution, it was completely extirpated. In the 1970s, efforts to restore a population of white-tailed eagles in Scotland began with the release of young birds on the Isle of Rum, marking the beginning of a long-term reintroduction programme. By the early 2000s, Scotland had over 50 breeding pairs and the species was declared officially re-established. Following this successful reintroduction programme, several further reintroductions have taken place across the UK, including additional releases in Scotland, Ireland and on the Isle of Wight. However, so far, no attempts have been made to re-establish the species in Wales.  

The last known breeding pair in Wales was lost in the 1830s. White-tailed eagles are a majestic and iconic species with significant cultural and historical significance in Welsh mythology and folklore. We hope that in the coming years, a viable breeding population can be returned, restoring important ecosystem functions once again to the skies, rivers and coastlines of southeast Wales.  

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Animal facts

Key facts about the white-tailed eagle

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I’m found across Europe and Asia

Driven to extinction in the UK by 1916, white-tailed eagles are now found in Scotland, Ireland and southern England thanks to reintroduction projects. 

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I get my name from my tail feathers

As their name suggests, adults have white tails. They are also known as sea eagles or 'Eryr y môr' in Welsh. 

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I’m the UK’s largest bird of prey

With a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres they are sometimes described as the flying barn door!


metre wingspan


years average lifespan


last recorded breeding pair in Wales

What we're doing to help white-tailed eagles


Bringing back eagles

White-tailed eagles were extinct in Wales by 1830 due to prolonged persecution. The last known breeding pair nested at Kenfig Burrows, now known as Kenfig Nature Reserve, on the Swansea coast in south Wales.
What we're doing to help
Working with local partners and communities, we are assessing the ecological and social feasibility of reintroducing white-tailed eagles to southeast Wales. This process will be undertaken over a number of years and only once criteria are met will any reintroduction take place. We are developing robust monitoring and release methods, and hope that one day white-tailed eagles will be restored to the Welsh landscapes.

Working with local communities

Eagles have been absent from Wales for over 150 years, which has led to lost natural heritage and connection to the species, along with other missing species in the country.
What we're doing to help
We are working collaboratively with partners and local communities to rebuild lost connections to the species and promote coexistence. We're taking part in local events, workshops, talks and long-term engagement with the community and interest groups across southeast Wales, along with open discussions surrounding any concerns or conflicts. It is integral to any successful reintroduction project that the community feels a connection with white-tailed eagles and can express their interest and potential concerns about a reintroduction.
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Education and outreach programme

We have been losing species and habitats at an alarming rate and the UK is now one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries. In the UK, nature connection levels among the general public are much lower than what is needed to promote pro-environmental attitudes.
What we're doing to help
Our Schools 4 Species programme in Wales will not only support our two species programmes but will engage schools and community groups and empower them to realise the importance of nature for health and wellbeing. The sessions and events aim to raise the profile of Wales’s missing and threatened species and foster a love of nature. By learning through fieldtrips and workshops, the groups will come together for a youth conference for a day of activities to promote nature connection and empower young people to stand for nature.

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