Third International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences

Numbers and distribution of eagles in the Czech Republic: reason for optimism

Bělka T. (Czech Society for Ornithology, Častolovice, Czech Republic)
Horal D. (Czech Society for Ornithology; Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Brno, Czech Republic)

Tomáš Bělka
David Horal
Recommended citation: Bělka T., Horal D. Numbers and distribution of eagles in the Czech Republic: reason for optimism. – Raptors Conservation. 2023. S2: 108–110. DOI: 10.19074/1814- 8654-2023-2-108-110 URL:

At present, four eagle species are regular breeders in the Czech Republic: WhiteTailed Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila [Clanga] pomarina), and Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). There is also a historical record of confirmed breeding of Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila [Clanga] clanga) in 1847 in the region of Eastern Bohemia. At present, this species is only a rare visitor on autumn and spring passage.

White-Tailed Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) has re-colonized the country since the mid-1980s, after approx. one hundred years absence as a breeder. The recolonization started at two separate areas: South Bohemia, with birds coming mainly from German and Poland source population, and South Moravia, with birds coming from Pannonia, i.e. mainly from Hungary. Later the species occupied nearly the whole area of suitable habitats. The population is still increasing and currently reaches ca. 160–180 breeding pairs.

Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca) has bred in the Check Republic for the first time in 1998 (there is one unconfirmed note about its breeding also in 1930s). Since then, the population is slowly growing, similarly as the whole Pannonian population (with source populations mainly in Hungary and Eastern Slovakia). So far, the breeding is limited to Pannonian region of the country (i.e. south-eastern part) but the first pairs have spread north and west during the last years. 23 territorial pairs were monitored in 2023.

The Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila [Clanga] pomarina) was never an abundant species in the Czech Republic. Scarce population existed especially in sub-mountainous regions and in the mountains throughout the CR. The last breeding pairs were documented at the end of 1980’s and the beginning of 1990’s in Šumava Mts. After more than 20 years, breeding of LSE was surprisingly confirmed in western Bohemia. Since 2012, one pair breeds there regularly. In 2018, a small new population was discovered in the north of Morava region and currently three pairs breed there. Since 2020 another pair breeds in eastern Bohemia. Presently, two pairs breed in this region but we presume that another 1–2 breeding pairs could be hiding in this region. Therefore, in 2023 we estimate the breeding population of the LSE in the Czech Republic as 6–8 pairs.

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) started to breed in N Moravia (NE part of the country) in 2013 (similarly as White-tailed Sea Eagle after more than one hundred years of absence), partly as a result of re-introduction project carried out during 2006–2017 (27 birds originating from Slovakia were released). Along with the growing population size and range expansion in the neighbouring Slovakia, there are now min 5–6 occupied territories in Czech Republic.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a regular passage migrant (both spring and autumn), with some birds oversummering and very rarely also wintering. Historical data about its regular breeding in 19th or even early 20th century are not fully confirmed. Several breeding attempts were recorded also during the last 20 years. These included nest building but the clutch was never laid.

Short-Toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is a very rare visitor in the Czech Republic, but the number of observations seems to increase rapidly during the last 10 years. With the increasing population in Hungary and possibly also Slovakia, its breeding cannot be excluded in the near future.