White-tailed Eagle nests in England for first time in 240 years


White-tailed Eagle has nested in England for the first time in 240 years, with a pair raising one chick to fledging at an undisclosed location thought to be in West Sussex.

The chick is result of the first successful breeding attempt of eagles released on the Isle of Wight by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation's programme, which began in 2019.

The White-tailed Eagle chick at the nest (Forestry England).

Two of the birds released by the project in 2020 – female G405, originally translocated from the Outer Hebrides and male G471, from north-west Sutherland – reared the male chick earlier this summer. 

The location of the nest, on private land with no public access, is not being disclosed, though it is thought to be in the Arun Valley in West Sussex. The chick was ringed and fitted with a satellite tag.

Roy Dennis MBE, Founder of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, said: "This is a very special moment for everyone who has worked on, supported and followed this ground-breaking project. Restoring a breeding population in southern England, where the species was once widespread, has been our ultimate goal. We still have a long way to go, but the feeling of seeing the first pair reach this stage is truly incredible."

Steve Egerton-Read, White-tailed Eagle Project Officer for Forestry England, commented: "We are thrilled that this moment has happened and at such an early stage in the project. At only three years old, it is remarkable that the pair have successfully bred, with most White-tailed Eagles not attempting to do so until they are at least four or five. This pair's ability to breed and fledge their chick at this early age is extremely encouraging."