One of the UK's largest and rarest birds, recently seen in Dorset and Cornwall, has been found dead.

Police are now appealing for information about the white-tailed eagle while a post mortem and toxicological examination are carried out.

It is one of two sea eagles to be found dead in the south of England in late January.

The eagles are commonly known as 'flying barn doors' due to the sheer size of their two-metre wingspan.

They disappeared from the UK during the early 20th century.

Six juveniles were released on the Isle of Wight as part of a reintroduction programme.

One of these was spotted in Bodmin in January.


Following the tragic finds, a spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "Sadly two of the Sea Eagle England Isle of Wight reintroduced white-tailed sea eagles have recently been found dead on multi-agency operations in the south of England - including one in Dorset in late January.

"These birds are extremely rare and we ask the public to be vigilant and to report any information they may have relating to the death of these birds to Dorset Police at, quoting occurrence 55220015571. Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111."

Three other eagles are currently in Dorset.

White-tailed eagles are both hunters and carrion feeders.

They eat largely fish, but also take birds, rabbits and hares.

However, carrion is an important part of their diet, especially during the winter months and lambs are taken as carrion.