Golden eagle

Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency Lag rapport Les på norsk

Golden eagles breed in most parts of Norway except the southeastern lowlands. The population has probably been more or less stable for the past 20 years, and in 2010 the species was removed from the Norwegian Red List.

Stable population

The breeding population of golden eagles in Norway in 2015 was estimated to be between 652 and 1139 pairs.

Norway’s aim is to maintain a stable golden eagle population in each of the eight management regions for carnivores and golden eagle, in accordance with a decision by the Storting in 2004. In most parts of Norway, the population appears to have been stable for many years.

Habitat loss and disturbance may affect golden eagles

Golden eagles have large territories and need nesting sites where they will not be disturbed. This makes them vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation. Factors that can have a negative impact on golden eagles include changes in land use and physical alteration of the landscape, for example through the construction of roads and buildings, power lines, wind farms and hydropower infrastructure.

Golden eagles are particularly sensitive to disturbance during the incubation period. Since they lay eggs in March-April, this often coincides with Easter, which in Norway is a long holiday and a popular time for skiing in the mountains. People sometimes disturb incubating birds, resulting in breeding failure.

Raising awareness and monitoring

In recent years, growing attention has been paid to developments that reduce the area of suitable habitat for golden eagles and cause habitat fragmentation, and the impacts they have on the population.

One important way of maintaining the Norwegian golden eagle population is to make people more aware of factors that can have a negative impact on them, including disturbance during the breeding season. Monitoring and inspection of known nesting sites is also needed.

The golden eagle is included in Appendix II of the Bern Convention. 

Monitoring the population

Golden eagles in Norway are monitored as part of the national monitoring programme for large carnivores.

Breeding territories currently or previously in use are registered throughout Norway, and in selected areas adult survival and production of young are monitored more intensively.

The map below shows the 11 areas that are included in the intensive monitoring programme. The red circles are areas that have been part of the terrestrial environmental monitoring programme for many years, and where figures for production of young were already available. The blue circles show areas where monitoring started in 2012 or 2013.