The Golden Eagle Trust
Species Profiles

Species Profiles (18)

Monday, 03 March 2014 21:42


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Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:55

Short-eared owl

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The short-eared owl has long, narrow wings and feeds by day and night. The short-eared owls’ ear tufts are seldom seen as they are very short. This bird is often confused with the long-eared owl but it always nests on the ground in thick cover unlike the long-eared owl which nests in old trees.

Length: 33-35cm

Wingspan: 85-93cm

Weight: 240-360g

Habitat: Can be found in open moorland with small woods, fields, hedges, heath and grassland often at estuaries in winter


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:55

Long-eared owl

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The long-eared owl is less dependent on woodland areas than other owls and is often found on agricultural land. The ear tufts are feathers not their actual ears which are hidden underneath the facial disk feathers. When the owl is alarmed the ear tufts are erect otherwise they are lowered.

Length: 35-37cm

Wingspan: 90-100cm

Weight: 300-350g

Habitat: Woodland and scrub and uses open habitats for hunting


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:54

Barn owl

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The barn owl can be seen at dawn and dusk – this is known as ‘crepuscular’. It hunts silently and has a majestic slow, buoyant flight. As its name suggests it’s known to nest in barns or old buildings. It has distinctive pure white under-parts when flying.

Length: 33-35cm

Wingspan: 85-93cm

Weight: 240-360g

Habitat: Can be found in open lowlands with small woods, fields, hedges, heaths and grasslands


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:54

Honey buzzard

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The honey buzzard is easy to see in flight as they are generally seen over forests and woods. Unlike the common buzzards they have flat wings or their wings are slightly arched. Rare in Ireland.

Length: 50-60cm

Wingspan: 135-160cm

Weight: 500-1,000g

Habitat: Often found breeding in mature woodland


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:54


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The hobby can give the impression of a large swift as the wings in flight look long and pointed. When sitting the birds show to have distinctive red ‘trousers’. Rare in Ireland

Length: 28-35cm

Wingspan: 75-90cm

Weight: 130-340g

Habitat: Marshes, heathlands and open habitats.


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:53


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The osprey can catch fish in water at high speed with their specially adapted talons. On occasions if the fish is too large the ospreys have been known to drown due to their claws catching the fish bones or scales. When hunting is successful large prey are often turned forwards presumably to assist with stream-lining whilst flying. Seen regularly in Ireland on migration and increasingly over-summering individuals.

Length: 55-69cm

Wingspan: 145-160cm

Weight: 1.1-1.65g

Habitat: Found in lakes, rivers and also coastal areas


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:53

Marsh harrier

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The marsh harrier’s wings are very often held in a ‘V’ and as the name suggests are usually seen over reedbeds and marsh areas seldom flying no more than a few feet above the reeds. Rare in Ireland.

Length: 50-55cm

Wingspan: 115-130cm

Weight: 500-900g

Habitat: Reedbeds and wetlands


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:53

Golden Eagle

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The golden eagle is a large bird of prey but from a distance they can look similar to a buzzard since they soar on ‘raised wings’ but from a distance size isn’t always apparent. Last bred in Northern Ireland in the 1950s and re-introduced into Co. Donegal since 2001.

Length: 76-89cm

Wingspan: 190-227cm

Weight: 3.5-6.5kg

Habitat: Found usually in mountainous regions, lowland, forests or marshes


Sunday, 02 September 2012 02:52

White-tailed eagle

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The white-tailed eagle in fight is easily distinguished and unforgettable due to its sheer size. They are often known as ‘the flying barn door’. When hunting they show surprising speed and agility for their size. Re-introduced into Co. Kerry since 2007; first nesting attempt in Co. Clare during 2012.

Length: 70-90cm

Wingspan: 200-240cm

Weight: 4-6kg

Habitat: Usually found in extensive wetlands, loughs and coastal sea cliffs


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