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As majestic as they appear, the mighty eagles are one of the most magnificent yet dreaded species of the bird kingdom due to their extraordinary power, strength, and potential to attack and capture their prey ravenously.
Though quite a fierce creature, the eagle is the epitome of courage, bravery, and freedom. The predatory bird’s exemplary resilience, prowess, and agility make it one of the highly regarded species. Equipped with incredibly sharp talons and a fiercely powerful beak, the phenomenal hunting skills of the eagle mark it as an outstanding predatory bird.
The landscapes of Germany serve as a habitat for many creatures, including the majestic eagles. Several species inhabit the German range, including the White-tailed eagles, Short-toed Snake Eagles, Lesser Spotted Eagles, Golden Eagles, and Booted Eagles.
Eagle – The Symbol Of Germany
The eagle, an iconic symbol, is an emblem of the Federal Republic of Germany. The federal coat of arms of the nation features a single-headed black eagle surrounded by a golden background.
The Germans have long revered the mighty bird as an iconic manifestation of the supreme deity, vitality, and the sun. Regarded for its imperial power, dating back to the days of the Roman Empire, the eagle has been associated with German royalty.
Being a national bird of the state, the eagle stands as a symbol of German nationalistic pride. The federal eagle is not just depicted on the Federal Coat of arms, but also on the Federal Institution’s flag, coins, stamps, and letterheads.
Types of Eagles in Germany
Germany is home to innumerable eagles, dwelling in the country’s woodlands, forests, and mountainous terrains. The eagle population of Germany has faced considerable uncertainty over the decades.
Reports, however, indicate a flourishing environment for eagles, with probably the highest number of eagles in Germany at present than ever before.
Read ahead to learn more about the types of eagles found in Germany.
Marking its magnificent presence on Germany’s coat of arms, these meridian raptors are the largest species in Europe and have the widest wingspan of all eagles around the globe. One of the giant birds of prey, the White-Tailed Eagle, is a voracious Raptor, and has a versatile diet.
The large, ravenous bird, measuring around 66 to 95 cm, has a brown plumage with a noticeably pale head and neck, often blending into a conspicuous white. A well-known feature of the eagle is its white wedge-shaped tail, which it attains by the age of four years.
Cruising through the sky, the bird reminisces a flying barn door, having incredibly long and broad leveled wings, with edges shaped into fingers.
These opportunistic hunters, sometimes snatching food from other birds around, feed on an array of creatures, including fish, rabbits, hares, and other various birds. Carrion also comprises a significant part of these scavengers’ diet, especially during winter.
Population in Germany
Prevalent throughout most of Europe, Germany presently inhabits many breeding pairs of the White-Tailed Eagle, regarded as the nation’s national bird.
With its range constantly expanding towards Northeastern Germany, most of the current population breeds east of the River Elbe, with some isolated pairs occupying the regions elsewhere, including Bavaria.
Typically found along rocky coastlines, estuaries, and lochs near the sea, some non-breeding population also denizens the Western Germany to as far as the Northern region.
At present, the massive Raptors enjoy a least concern status. However, their population suffered immensely during the last century.
Apart from hunting and prosecution, this was primarily due to the excessive use of organochloride pesticides, including DDT, which resulted in the thinning of the eggshells.
Signifying German nationalism, things went downhill for these ravenous creatures when only a handful of pairs were left at the beginning of the 20th century.
Fortunately, the German unification tended to have a positive impact, incredibly boosting their population to over 100 by the 1980s. With time, a slow, yet steady rise of the eagles around the country has been observed, with the numbers now exceeding 600 within just 3 decades.
A lot of conservation programs seem to have nurtured this population boom. Germany hopes for its national bird to become a widespread species once again and expand its population!
Short Toed Snake Eagle
Relative to the White-Tailed Eagle, this raptor is smaller in size. Measuring around 60-70 cm, this medium-sized eagle has an incredible 5-6 feet wingspan.
A not-so-spruce creature, the drab-looking bird, has long and broad wings as it soars in the sky for long durations with wings flattened out, hovering with paddling wingbeats amidst the wind.
For the little time that it is not on its wings, the eagle perches at elevated treetops, sometimes giving out musical whistles or even desolating calls.
Having a greyish brown plumage, one can easily recognize the bird in the field with its white undersides blending into an earthy brown color all the way up to the breasts and chin.
True to its name, the major part of the diet of the ravenous eagle comprises snakes, though the bird has a dynamic diet feeding on lizards and chameleons, rodents, rabbits, hedgehogs, and well as other injured or sick birds.
This opportunistic bird would boldly fly above forest and grass fires to forage on its prey, trying to escape the smoke and flames.
A symbol of bravery and strength, the voracious bird can dwell in various habitats. From inhabiting the woodlands to the damp lowland forests, grassy fields and wetlands, and arid rocky or sandy regions, they can be seen soaring peacefully in the sky.
These birds prefer regions with cliff formations and areas such as open terrains, forests, and grasslands.
Population in Germany
The raptor has a wide geographic range in the regions of Africa, Europe, and Asia. Since Germany lies on the edge of the European range, the bird has entered the territory, but it has never been a prevalent species within the country’s borders.
Though not abundant, there were some scattered breeding pairs of the snake eater around the country, until they completely disappeared. Frequent hunting and shooting of the bird bought it to near extinction in Germany, wiping out the entire species.
However, in the last decade, long-staying eagles have found their way to Germany once again, where a few migratory individuals can be seen each year, especially in the south of Germany. Some reports indicate the presence of a breeding pair in central Bavaria at a military training ground.
Now that the short-toed snake eagles have been frequenting Germany, they might be able to well expand their range in the country, perhaps by the end of the century.
Lesser Spotted Eagles
Once a prevalent species of Germany, these medium-sized eagles with a predominantly dark brown plumage have, over the years, been wiped out of the country with only a few remnants.
With a compact body structure, the voracious eagle has a relatively small head and beak, like its other counterparts.
The birds’ massively long and broad wings, conspicuously divided into two shades of brown, have fingered edges that soar smoothly above the plains and fields to forage for food. The strong legs of the mighty bird, covered in feathers, are quite visible when the eagle is perched.
Requiring a conglomeration of landscapes to meet its habitation and foraging needs, the eagle cruises around meadows, fallow lands, fields, and grasslands to forage for food.
Densely forested regions serve as the ideal habitat for these majestic birds, where they construct their nests. More so, the bird requires idealistic perches such as isolated growing trees, fences, and poles to keep an eye on their potential prey.
The lesser spotted eagle usually feeds on small rodents and amphibians and moles and insects.
Population in Germany
The Eagle continues to be of considerable concern for the wildlife authorities of Germany due to its constantly declining population.
From the time the eagle had numerous breeding pairs across the country, there are only a handful of pairs, around a few hundred only, in the North-Eastern side of the country.
Having faced severe devastation of their species, mainly becoming a target of brutal hunting, the remaining Lesser Spotted eagles of Germany are not doing incredibly well, facing a steady decline in their population.
The poor condition of the Eagles can be attributed to the abatement of suitable habitats throughout their constrained range in Germany.
Requiring a mosaic of forests, meadows, and wetlands, these landscapes are becoming a scarcity, and hence the bodacious creatures are becoming a rarity in its German breeding range.
Amongst the most widespread birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere, the Golden Eagle is a widespread species of eagle around the globe.
One of the most massive species of the eagle, this voracious raptor is the fastest, nimblest, and puissant creature.
With a predominantly dark brown plumage, the radiant streaks of gold on the feathers of the bird’s head and neck are pretty prominent in flight.
Soaring steadily in the sky, with its incredibly massive wings beating them intermittently, the mighty bird has a wingspan of almost 5 to 8 feet.
Having impeccable hunting potential, the powerful beak and razor-sharp talons of the bird greatly aid the eagle in ravenously capturing its prey.
With its highly swift flight and agility, the courageous raptor swoops down in pursuit to capture its target, which can be as large as foxes and deers.
Their dynamic diet comprises rabbits, squirrels, marmots, reptiles, birds, insects, and an array of fish.
Dwelling in a wide range of habitats, from the arctic to the desserts, golden eagles can be spotted soaring above the mountainous terrains, plains, and foothills.
In other regions, they’re found in tundra, prairies, deserts, and even near water bodies such as marshes and alongside rivers and inhabiting the farmlands, coniferous forests, and grasslands.
Population in Germany
Over the decades, the overall population of the mystical bird has declined drastically.
However, the species has recovered remarkably in the regions, and the current population is considered to be relatively steady.
Once quite prevalent throughout Germany, breeding across the country, from the Alps and the lowlands, up to the coast, the eagle suffered a drastic decline in its population.
The primary factor causing the bird to diminish was hunting, limiting the species to only the country’s remote regions.
This was followed by strict preservation efforts to conserve the species from becoming extinct. As a result, a slow and steady population recovery was observed, with the population aggravating to around 50 pairs by 2000.
Till recently, the population has remained almost stagnant, with the population of the German Alps reaching its maximum potential.
Unfortunately, the sheen eagle has not been able to propagate further to the lowlands or surrounding mountain ranges.
These handful pairs would take ages to reach the zenith of their population, which seems almost impossible.
This has inevitably made the Golden Eagle a rarity in Germany, with the only realistic chances of sighting the birds in the Alps. This clearly means Germany can no more be fascinated by the vast prevalence of one of the largest birds of prey.
A mere outsider to the country, including the Booted Eagles in the list of most frequented birds of Germany, remains a dubious matter.
The Booted Eagle, a prominent member of the bravest and majestic family of birds, is, in fact, one of Europe’s smallest eagles.
Having a relatively slender structure, notice the long, square-shaped tail and densely feathered legs, which are pretty noticeable when the bird is perched.
Occurring in two distinct morphs, the pale birds predominantly have a light grey head with a contrasting darker head and flight feathers.
In contrast, the other form of the species has a plumage toned towards mid-brown with evidently dark grey wings.
Perched high on the elevated branches of trees and light posts, the keen eyesight of the Raptor aids it to locate its potential target.
Dive-bombing in an almost vertical flight, the eagle swoops down to capture and tear apart its prey. Having an extensive choice of foods, the eagle feeds on a number of delicacies such as insects like locusts, an array of birds, and reptiles and mammals.
A proficient aerialist, the Booted Eagle cruises high in the sky with its long-fingered wings slightly pushed forward.
Typically inhabiting the forested regions of its range, the raptor prefers open patches, hilly areas, woodlands, scrublands, and grassy plains. The highly adaptable species can settle in an array of habitats, from the coastline to the deserts and mountainous terrains.
Population in Germany
Collectively, throughout Europe, the raptor population is showing a considerable decline.
A standard breeding species in southern Europe and the Mediterranean coastline, the migratory raptor is an infrequent ambulant of Germany.
A very rare sight in the region of the country, there are only a handful of species that take the route to Germany each year.
There have been reports of a few breeding pairs in the central German Forest back in the late 20th century, but it seems the pairs have not been bred here again since then. German birders, therefore, have to rely on the vagrant birds that visit each year.
The enormous eagles are not just an iconic emblem of Germany, but eagles tend to be a prevalent sight in the skies of Germany, cruising proficiently, soaring their massive wings, as it hunts for a potential predator on the ground underneath.
If you wish to read more, explore the difference between eagles and other massive raptors in this post .
David A. Swanson
Bird Watching USA
My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!