Aquila chrysaetos | Golden Eagle | Iolar firéan



Conservation status

This species is Red-listed according to Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland 2020-2026 and is of high conservation value as a result. 

Species Biology


One of Ireland’s largest raptors (only outmatched by the White Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)).

Length of 75-88 cm with a wingspan of up to 220 cm.

Males are typically smaller at around 3-5kg with the larger females weighing upwards of 6kg in some individuals.

Adults are a dark brown colour with a pale patch on the upperwing and some barring on the tail.

The Golden Eagle gets its name from the golden colour of its head (may not be visible from far away). 


The Golden Eagle will prey on a range of animals from mammals such as rabbits and foxes to birds such as grouse, crows and seagulls.

In addition to capturing and killing prey, the Golden Eagle feeds on carrion, should the opportunity arise. 


In Ireland, Golden Eagles are commonly seen in upland areas.


This species will typically have a clutch of 2 eggs with an incubation period of 43-45 days.

The young will fledge after 65-70 days.

This species can live up to 23 years.

Conservation actions

The Golden Eagle has been re-introduced into Donegal in recent years. While some breeding success has been recorded since their re-introduction, significant limiting factors such as poisoning and shooting of individuals and insufficient habitat quality are an ongoing issue to date (Golden Eagle Trust Ireland, 2013)


World distribution(GBIF)

Native distribution

In Europe, an estimated 7900-10,000 pairs exist. 

Temporal change

Records submitted to Data Centre in 2023

The following map is interactive. If you would prefer to view it full screen then click here.

Further information

Golden Eagle Trust:

BirdWatch Ireland:

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds:

British Trust for Ornithology:



Golden Eagle Trust Ireland, 2013. GE Project Updates. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 2 Jun. 2021].