VAN RIJN S, VAN DEN BERG A, DE BOER P, DEKKER J, DEUZEMAN S, VAN STRAALEN D & KLEEFSTRA R (2019) Breeding White-tailed Eagles Haliaeetus albicilla in the Netherlands in 2006 to 2018. LIMOSA 92 (1): 3-15.
The White-tailed Eagle bred for the first time in the
Netherlands in 2006. Until 2008 breeding was restricted
to the Oostvaardersplassen. From 2009 onwards other
wetlands were occupied (Tab. 2). In 2018 the population
had increased to 14 occupied nests (Fig. 1). Observations
of colour-ringed individuals showed that the first Dutch
breeding birds originated from Northern-Germany, whereas
most of the birds that settled in after 2012 were Dutch
recruits (Tab. 1). White-tailed Eagles colour-ringed in the
Netherlands mainly stayed in the country. Only few birds
dispersed abroad but none of these have established a
breeding territory yet (Fig. 4).
Breeding success in 2006-18 amounted to 1.1 young per
breeding attempt and 1.6 young per successful nest (Tab.
2). This is similar to reproduction numbers in surrounding
countries. Chicks were sexed based on tarsus-index (Fig. 2) or ratio between weight and wing length (Fig. 3). In 38 young
the sex-ratio was 50:50 (Tab. 3). First year survival was at least
60% and annual survival averaged 90% for the first 5 winters
for birds born in 2007-12. Threats included (deliberate?)
poisoning (2 poisoned birds were taken into captivity for
recovery and subsequently released), shooting (one certain,
one probable case) and collision with wind turbines (2 cases).
Survival in the Netherlands, with an extremely high human
population, does not seem to be lower compared to other
The slow and late recovery of the White-tailed Eagle
population in Europe as compared with other raptor
species, was probably due to low initial reproduction rate,
limited dispersion distances and late age of first breeding
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