Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

About

The golden eagle is the top predator in the Scottish countryside; it is a massive bird of prey that mainly hunts rabbits and mountain hares but will also catch foxes, young deer and large birds like grouse. It can be seen soaring high in the sky in upland areas and remote glens in the north and west of Scotland. Golden eagles have large home territories, nesting on rocky cliff faces and in trees where it builds a giant nest or 'eyrie'. These nests are often used by successive generations to rear their own young. Golden eagles pair for life.

How to identify

A massive bird of prey, with longer wings and a longer tail than the rarer white-tailed eagle. Adults are mainly dark brown, with a golden head and neck. Young birds have white patches in their wings and a white base to the tail.

Where to find it

A rare bird of the mountains and moorlands of Scotland.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • Novermber
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Golden eagles have been severely persecuted in the past, still suffering today from illegal poisoning, egg-collecting and habitat loss. The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Golden Eagle
Latin name
Aquila chrysaetos
Category
Birds
Birds of prey
Statistics
Length: 76-90cm Wingspan: 2.1m Weight: 3.7-5.3kg Average Lifespan: 23 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.