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White-tailed eagles breed in Belgium

White-tailed eagle

This pair of white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) first took up residence in the De Blankaart nature reserve in West Flanders last April. During the autumn the couple constructed a nest, in preparation (hopefully) for laying eggs this spring. The good news is that they have. This is the first time in modern times that white-tailed eagles have bred in Belgium.

The incubation process will take approximately 38 days, so all eyes will be peeled for the end of April. It will take another two months before the chicks can move around, so sometime in July.

White-tailed eagles (also called sea eagles) eat largely fish, but also take various birds, rabbits and hares. When fishing, they fly low over water, stop to hover for a moment and drop to snatch fish from the surface. During the breeding season while they are rearing young, they require 500-600 grams of food per day. The birds have a wingspan of up to 2.4 metres.

White-tailed eagle Photo by Petr Ganaj at Pexels

In De Blankaart, a safety zone has been demarcated of about 300 meters, in which entry is forbidden to give the birds some peace. Bird lovers can try to spot the eagles on the arch bridge, which is the romantic bridge in the park, or from the birdwatching hut and the bird watching tower. But you’ll need a powerful pair of binoculars.

Photo at top by Jürgen at Pexels

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