Mørk stellers

A rare sea eagle

One of our Steller's sea eagles, Legolas, is a rare color variant, that is called dark Steller's.

Usually only young Steller’s sea eagles are completely dark brown. When they are 4-5 years old, they will have their adult plumage with white parts on the front of the wings, white “pants”, a completely white tail as well as a small white spot on their forehead.

Here in the park, we were very much looking forward to the eagles turning 4 years in 2018, so we could see them fully colored as full-grown sea eagles. That’s why we also wondered when only one of the eagles, Gandalf, started to change color. Legolas, on the other hand, continued to wear the same very dark brown uniform-colored plumage – if you ignore his fine white tail.

We therefore began to investigate things. It turned out that there is a very rare, and naturally occurring, color variation of Steller’s sea eagles, where they only get a white tail, but otherwise are completely dark brown / black. This variant is called a dark Steller’s. As we then dug a little more into it, it also turned out that Legolas’ mother from Berlin was the only known individual of this color variant in the entire breeding program. Scandinavian Wildlife PArk is now one of 2 places in the world where you can see this very rare color variation.

Read an article from BBC on Legolas’ mother.