White-tailed eagle monitoring

The white-tailed eagle has been closely monitored for many decades. The first survey was conducted in 1920 and has been annual since 1963. The growth and development of Iceland’s eagle population is better known than that of any other bird species in Iceland. The goal of monitoring is to track changes in the population size and its viability and distribution. Breeding pairs are surveyed in early spring, and breeding success is then evaluated around midsummer.

In 2018, the population reached a record 80 breeding pairs, a figure that does not include juvenile birds. The eagle population has not been this large since it was declared a protected species in 1914. White-tailed eagles were on the brink of extinction in Iceland by the middle of the twentieth century. Their recovery has been slow but steady from the 1970s. Eagles still occupy only a third of known eyries, and their distribution remains largely limited to the western part of Iceland. 

IINH Contact: Kristinn H. Skarphéðinsson