Sunday, 14 December 2014

White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

Adult White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) from Akan Crane Centre, Hokkaido, Japan - December 2014

Local Name (Japan): O-jiro washi - (オジロワシ"White-tailed Eagle"
Local Name (Ainu): Onneu ("Old and Large One")
OTHER NAMES: White-Tailed Sea Eagle, Erne
Weight: 3-7kg
Length: 70-90cm
Wingspan: 1.78-2.45m
UK RED LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The largest of all raptors found in the UK, I must admit somewhat cheating and finally caught up with this species on the other side of the world in Hokkaido.  This was however, not my first attempt to see this species - several years ago I spend a day walking round a field near Basingstoke of all places looking for a vagrant bird that had been staying there for a while (just my luck, after being there for a while I arrived the day it left).  In Britain this species went extinct early in the 20th Century and was only restored later by a reintroduction program in 1975 on the Isle of Rum in Scotland and has subsequently expanded its range.  Seeing it in Hokkaido as an affix to a trip to Tokyo is actually probably easier and cheaper than seeing them as a trip in the UK - I saw these eagles on over half the days we were in Hokkaido, though unfortunately the closest views of down to 10m were through dusty windows on a moving train in the mist - hardly ideal for photographs!

Related Species:
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Haliaeetus
Subspecies: None - Monotypic

 - Sighting Locations -
JAPAN - Locally fairly common resident to Hokkaido.
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Seen from various locations including Akan Crane Centre, Akkeshi and Kushiro Airport in early December.

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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