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Feeding Habits

WTE scavenging WTE scavenging (c) Kjartan Trana
  • General
    Wide & varied, primarily scavenger; more generalist diet than Golden Eagle
  • Scavenging
    Carrion (remains of dead animals) important all year round but esp. in winter inc. any dead mammal, spent, dead & dying fish, seals; readily eats discards & offal from fishing boats
  • Predation
    Opportunistic. Seabirds and small to medium sized animals important during breeding season; surface-dwelling fish
  • Kleptoparasitism
    Close association with Otters in Norway, takes remains of fish caught by Otters; chases gulls and seabirds until they drop food
  • Fishing
    Snatches fish from near surface in flight

White-tailed Sea Eagles are opportunistic scavengers (feeding on animals already dead or the remains of animals killed by other species) and predators with an extremely diverse diet including fish, small to medium size mammals and birds. In contrast to Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos however, carrion, particularly dead sheep, deer, marine mammals, as well as fish such as spent salmon are important components of sea eagle diet throughout the year. In western Scotland sea eagles have a much broader range of food items than Golden Eagles, with carrion, fish and seabirds taken more often while eating fewer rabbits and hares. Sea eagles also take live, surface feeding fish, on the wing by snatching prey from the water without immersing themselves. In Scotland, Saithe, Turbot, and Lumpsucker are most often taken.