The white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) is the largest bird in Iceland and among the rarest breeding birds in the country. The late 19th century saw a dramatic decline in the number of breeding pairs due to organised persecution. Until 1905, rewards were offered for shooting the eagle in Iceland. Since Januar 1st 1914, the year Iceland gained Homerule, the eagle has been strictly protected.
In the last thirty to forty years, the population has tripled, but the eagle is still on the list of endangered species. The Icelandic eagle is genetically different from other stocks except the Greenland one. In the past eagles bred all over the country, but its habitat in Iceland i s now largely confined to Breiðafjörður and the West Fjords.