Nest Update - February 2020

Scouting a suitable site for a white-tailed eagle nest

Species requirements

White-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in Scotland are known to build nests in both trees and on cliffs, but they show a preference for nesting in trees in wooded areas close to water. They don't display a preference for specific tree species, with both coniferous and deciduous trees being suitable, but typically favour large trees.

Relict scots pine woodland on a sunny day
The tall mature tres of relict pinewoods like this provide good nesting sites for white-tailed eagles

Identifying Suitable Habitat

During a site visit, the field team identified a relict pinewood located high up on the middle ridge that runs through the reserve as a potentially suitable site for a nest platform. This would enable visiting white-tailed eagles to see the platform as they travel down the two parallel glens that run through the reserve on either side. A tall Scots pine tree was chosen close to the centre of the woodland, to provide some protection from the harsh weather of the Scottish Highlands. This site would also offer nesting eagles a clear view of the landscape and possible threats.

A white-tailed eagle catches a fish in its talons
White-tailed eagles prefer to nest in mature tall trees in wooded areas near water

Sources & further reading

Peer Reviewed Research Section
  1. The feasibility of reintroducing White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla to the Isle of Wight and the Solent - Roy Dennis FoundationExternal link
  2. Comparative nest habitat characteristics of sympatric White‐tailed Haliaeetus albicilla and Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos in western Scotland - Taylor & Francis OnlineExternal linkIcon Peer Review