Cleptoparasitism between White-tailed Eagles

SeeadlerAlthough it is said, that kleptoparasitism (or cleptoparasitism) is relatively uncommon in birds, some Skuas – as the Great Skua (Stercorarius skua),  Jaegers – as the or the Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) – and Frigatebirds are famous of taking prey from another bird that has caught. In this case, two White-tailed Eagles – a juvenile and an adult individual – were observerd and photographed.

White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) are able to detect prey from a very far distance, and then a small dot in the sky very quickly transforms into a giant bird of prey swooping down from a great height. The White-tailed Eagle catches – its impressive claws already widely stretched forward – the fish with much splashing forming spray and pull it out of the fjord. Normally the eagles respect their different territories thus avoiding fights for food.

In this case a juvenile and an adult individual went for fight in the air after the juvenile individual had grabbed for the fish successfully. Probabyl due to the better experience the a juvenile bird lost its prey to the adult individual only after a short but hefty fight.

I had got the offer to participate with a boat trip of Norway Nature from a Norwegian fishering town. Here you can watch the White-tailed Eagles during prey capture. On the day of photography the White-tailed Eagle-tour lasted about three hours. During this time, more as a dozen White-tailed Eagles showed up. Above all, the adult eagles were very cooperative and started sometimes several attempts to grab the fish from the water surface. There were only a few juvenile White-tailed Eagles around. Normally they were cautious  and turned to be not always quite so successful to grab the fish. They tried to compensate for this by begging emphatically the parents to share the prey. The air combat you see in the gallery was the only fight of the tour.

White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) are now at least in the eastern part of Middle Europe (as East Germany or Poland) a familiar sight . Nevertheless, it is not easy to photograph an eagle on close range. The animals are not extremely shy towards people, but they show respect and thus quite a distance from people , as it should be for wildlife.

So if you want to photograph wild eagles in Europe, you have several opportunities (including one in East German) or you do it right the first time. As far as I find out, there’s no better place to go than the Norwegian fishing village Lauvsnes near Flatanger in Norway, Ole Martin Dahle has managed to gain confidence of some White-tailed Eagles. For several years, he offers with his company Norway Nature boat trips where you can watch the White-tailed Eagles during prey capture. Ole is noticeable in his many years of experience and he offers a professional service.

In order to meet the growing demand for top images of the rarer species of Palearctic has made ​​specifically trips to remote places like the coastal mountains of western Norway or tourist spots like the island of Norderney. This was done, to enlarge the portfolio of excellent photos of the Birds of the Western Palearctic. The results are very good. The beautiful pictures that you see in the gallery, are just a first impression of what you will find in the tab “Picture- Store” very soon. Just give me a note, if you need a picture of a bird before the new images are online.

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