The White-tailed Eagle as a flagship species for conservation along the Danube river

The White-tailed Eagle is the largest eagle in Europe, females can reach a wingspan of a little over 250cm. Over the last decades the population has increased in most countries where the species occurs.

A major backbone for the species in Europe is the Danube river. It breeds in all countries along the Danube except Germany (it breeds in Germany but not yet at the Danube).

About 2 weeks ago, a conference was held close to the Duna-DrĂ¡va National Park (Hungary) about the conservation of this magnificent eagle.

Many experts got together and we learned a lot about recent population trends, projects and threats affecting the White-tailed Eagle. Here are some summaries from the talks:

  • Germany now has 700(!) pairs but not yet one at the Danube. This is for 2011. They are already regular winter visitors and several pairs in Bavaria are already quite close to the Danube so this is only a matter of time until Germany will also have White-tailed Eagles breeding along he Danube.
  • Lead poisoning is still a serious threat for White-tailed Eagles and other raptors.
  • A management plan has been written and was presented by Remo Probst (also see this interivew with Remo). The management plan will soon be published (I will announce it here once it is available)
  • In Romania there are still gaps in our knowledge about the species, particularly outside the Danube delta.
  • The White-tailed Eagle online database was announced. See here: White-taild Eagle online database .
  • The Austrian population has reached 14 pairs and 15 young fledged (the species was extinct in Austria and the first recolonising pair was observed in 1999).
  • The Hungarian population grew from about 20-30 pairs in the late 1980s to over 230 pairs in 2011.

The Danube Parks project has chosen the White-tailed Eagle as a flagship species for conservation along the Danube river and is working on projects to improve the conditions for the eagles and other species like the Danube sturgeons. This is a great network of protected areas and dedicated conservationists who have already achieved a lot and hopefully more projects will be realised in the coming years. The White-tailed Eagle is a great choice as a flagship species and from its protection many other species along the Danube river will benefit.

See the Danube Parks project website to learn more:
Danube Parks project