Havørn i naturen

Sea eagles in the wild

In Scandinavian Wildlife Park you can meet the Siberian Steller's sea eagle, but that's not native to Denmark.

The steller’s sea eagle is the largest eagle in the world, and is found in eastern Russia and will often winter in northern Japan on Hokkaido. This makes it the first non-Scandinavian species in Scandinavian Wildlife Park. The reason for this is the Danish legislation on birds of prey. We cannot hold the European white-tailed sea eagle in new enclosures.

So if we want to tell the story of the sea eagle, we need to have a stand-in, and the white-tailed sea eagle’s Russian cousin does a fine job.

A bit of Danish influence

Even though the Steller’s sea eagle does not in itself have any connection with Denmark, it still has a Dane in its history. It was named Steller’s sea eagle after the German physician and naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, who in 1740 first observed and described the species. He traveled with the Danish polar scientist and explorer Vitus Bering, who among other things found the passage from the Polar Sea that separated Asia from North America. Today named the Berings Strait.

The biggest sea eagle with the biggest beak

Steller’s sea eagle is the largest of all the world’s 8 sea eagle species. Its wingspan of up to 2.5 meters is no different from the white-tailed sea eagle, but it is a little heavier. A white-tailed sea eagle female can weigh up to 7 kg, while a Steller’s sea eagle female can weigh up to 9 kg. As with all birds of prey, the females are the largest.

Steller’s sea eagles have the largest beak of all the sea eagles. This means that they can quickly and efficiently tear the skin from e.g. big fish and carrion. Observations have shown that what will take the white-tailed sea eagle 18 minutes to eat, takes only 3-4 minutes for the Steller’s sea eagle. There is strong competition between Steller’s sea eagles and the other eagles in the winter, and being able to devour the food you grabbed as quickly as possible can be a huge evolutionary advantage.