White-tailed eagle restoration

Irlands første havørntrillinger - født av norske foreldre. Det er skjeldent med tre havørnunger i ett kull, selv i Norge. Foto: Damien Clarke.

Restoring populations of white-tailed sea eagles in Europe

White-tailed sea eagles were once Near Threatened in Norway, and extinct south of Sognefjord; but the population recovered after the protection of the species in 1968. Today Norway holds Europe's largest population of white-tailed sea eagles, breeding around the whole Norwegian coast, and NINA contributes to the restoration of populations of white-tailed sea eagles in Ireland, Scotland and Spain.


White-tailed sea eagles have been extinct in Ireland since the beginning of the 1900s. 

The white-tailed sea eagle project was initiated in Ireland in 2007, with the aim of reintroducing a viable poulation of white-tailed sea eagles in Ireland. From 2007-2011, 100 eagle chicks were flown from the coast of Trøndelag in Norway to a new life on the island. Despite some bumps along the road, the project has been a success, and ten adult pairs are now established.

From 202-2022,  50 new chicks from Trøndelag will contribute to the strengthening of the Irish population.


The last Scottish white-tailed sea eagle was shot in 1918. Scotland began a reintroduction programme in the 1970s, with birds from Nordland and, later, Møre & Romsdal, and today 150 pairs are breeding. The population is expanding rapidly in breeding pairs and in range, and is large enough to use descendants of Norwegian birds in England's first reintroduction, at Isle of Wight on the southern coast. 


Norwegian white-tailed sea eagles from Sunnmøre are the foundation of a new population in Spain, in Asturias, on the Atlantic coast in the northern part of Spain. 

2021 is the first year of the project, and you can follow the project on the Facebook page Proyecto Pigargo

7 fledglings were allready released in 2021. The plan is to release another 20 fledglings in 2022, from Sunnmøre and Trøndelag, and more in the years to come. 

In the long run, Norwegian white-tailed sea eagles may recapture the entire Atlantic coast down to Gibraltar!