What types of eagles can you find in the Czech Republic?
Whenever they appear, I make sure to stop and watch these incredible birds of prey. I’m always amazed at their beauty, large size, and astonishing ability to soar at extreme heights! And I’m not alone, as eagles have a special place in many people’s hearts and minds.
Below are the eagles that live in the Czech Republic!
Make sure to pay attention to the range maps to see which eagles live near you! In addition, I’ve included a few photographs to help you identify any birds you are lucky enough to observe for each species.
#1. Lesser Spotted Eagle
- Clanga pomarina
- Adults are typically up to 60 centimeters long with a wingspan of 150 centimeters.
- Their small, light brown head contrasts with their dark brown wings and body.
- Typically they have a white patch on the wings and a V-shaped marking near the base of the tail.
Lesser Spotted Eagles live in open country and lightly wooded grasslands. They are diurnal, meaning they sleep at night and hunt during the day. They primarily live in trees and hunt from perches, gliding down to capture small mammals for meals.
It’s rare for Lesser Spotted Eagles to hunt while flying, but they’ll walk on the forest floor to forage for food. They have keen eyesight and often hunt with other Lesser Spotted Eagles.
This species is one of the most territorial eagles in the Czech Republic and will regularly fight other birds that encroach on its home range. Male Lesser Spotted Eagles are more aggressive than females and usually display aggression toward other males, while females protect nesting and roosting sites. Here, you can see a female doing just that on a nest camera.
Lesser Spotted Eagles are the only species in the Czech Republic with the unusual habit of nest visitation.
The reason isn’t known, but females will often visit the nests of other females and stay for short periods before returning to their own territory. Researchers have discovered that females make these visits even if they aren’t closely related, almost as if they’re visiting for a neighborly chat!
#2. White-Tailed Eagle
- Haliaeetus albicilla
- Adults typically range from 66 to 94 centimeters long with a wingspan of 1.78 to 2.45 meters.
- Their coloring is grayish-brown with a lighter, striped head. They have black and yellow beaks and yellow feet.
- The tail feathers are white above and below.
White-Tailed Eagles are the largest eagle in the Czech Republic!
They are one of the largest living birds of prey, growing to nearly a meter in length and a wingspan of almost 2.5 meters!
This species is associated with water and primarily lives in coastal regions of the Czech Republic. Their habitats include estuaries, coastal marshes, and rocky beaches. If these habitats aren’t available, White-Tailed Eagles will nest and live in forested areas with nearby water.
You shouldn’t have any trouble recognizing this species since they’re the only eagle in the Czech Republic with a completely white tail! They are also so large that they’re impossible to miss, whether flying or perching in a tree or at the edge of a cliff.
White-Tailed Eagles are patient, calm birds and can remain still, only occasionally calling, for hours at a time! They spend up to 90% of their day perched in trees or on cliff edges, occasionally taking flight and soaring over bodies of water.
Their primary diet is fish and water birds, but they’ll occasionally eat mammals if they’re more readily available. To catch fish, they perch until they spot their target near the surface of the water, then soar down and take it alive. Hunting water birds is trickier since most species are faster than the White-Tailed Eagle. As a result, they often use the element of surprise or wait until a bird is exhausted from hunting to catch and eat it.
#3. Imperial Eagle
- Aquila heliaca
- Adults typically range from 68 to 90 centimeters long with a wingspan of 1.76 to 2.2 meters.
- Their coloring is dark brown to black, with a light tan head and neck and bright white spots on the back.
- When in flight, the underside appears grayish with small white markings.
Imperial Eagles live primarily in taiga forests but range into grasslands and other open areas as well. You may even find one in an agricultural field, foraging for a meal. Look for them soaring over open areas searching for prey or perched in trees, taking a rest.
This species almost always hunts from above and takes its prey on the ground, soaring down to intercept it from its perch or the sky. Typically, the Imperial Eagle prefers small and medium-sized mammals, and also eats birds, frogs, and fish. Sometimes larger animals like foxes or domestic cats can fall victim to Imperial Eagles, but this is rare.
Like many other eagles in the Czech Republic, Imperial Eagles mate for life and are often found as mating pairs in the wild. These mating pairs face the challenges of low breeding success and low survival rates to adulthood, which are rare problems for large raptors. Unfortunately, mating pairs of Imperial Eagles only have about a 50% success rate of raising their young to fledglings, and only 84% of fledglings reach adulthood.
These factors combined with nesting habitat loss, unintentional poisoning from wolf baits, and intentional killings have caused a widespread population decline of Imperial Eagles. Conservation efforts have been in place for the last 40 years across the Czech Republic, which has helped this species regain some of its population. Habitat protection programs, the installation of artificial nesting platforms, and regulations on the use of traps and baits have all contributed to an increase in Imperial Eagles in the Czech Republic.
Do you need additional help identifying eagles in the Czech Republic?
Here are a few books and resources you can purchase that will assist! (Links below take you to Amazon)
Which eagles have you seen before in the Czech Republic?
Leave a comment below!