Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in 10 years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 9,000-12,300 breeding pairs, equating to 17,900-24,500 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms 50-74% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 24,200-49,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. It is placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals.
The population is increasing locally owing to conservation measures such as protecting eyries, providing safe (non-poisoned) food and re-introductions to certain areas such as Bavaria (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). The European population is increasing (BirdLife International 2015).
The species has its strongholds in Norway and Russia (which together hold >55% of the European population (BirdLife International 2004), and important populations in south-west Greenland (to Denmark), Sweden, Poland and Germany. Smaller numbers breed in Iceland, United Kingdom, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav states, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, mainland China, and Japan. It formerly bred in Algeria and may still do so in Iraq.
The species requires large and open expanses of lake, coast or river valley, within the boreal, temperate and tundra zones, nearby to undisturbed cliffs or open stands of large, old-growth trees for nesting. Its food is vertebrates (fish, mammals and especially birds), from marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments. It is mainly migratory in the north and east of its breeding range, wintering in continental Europe and southern Asia, but sedentary elsewhere. Birds are usually seen singly, or in twos or threes (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).
Threats that affect this species include loss and degradation of wetlands, human disturbance and persecution, environmental pollution, collision with wind generators (Krone and Scharnweber 2003), and indiscriminate use of poisons. Modern forestry methods reduce the availability of suitable nesting habitat (Orta et al. 2013). Organochlorine pesticide and heavy metal pollution resulted in reductions in breeding success, particularly in the Baltic region (Orta et al. 2013). Although some losses may be taking place in Asian Russia owing to increased logging and oil industry development, these are outweighed by increases in Europe.
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. CMS Appendix I and II.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Harding, M., Khwaja, N. & Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Haliaeetus albicilla. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/02/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/02/2020.