The oldest golden eagle ever recorded in Britain has been found dead aged 18 and may have died in a fight with a love rival.
The bird’s body was found close to a nest on a cliff at Forsinard, Caithness.
RSPB Scotland said poisoning had been ruled out as the cause of death and the most likely explanation was that the ageing eagle succumbed to injuries inflicted by a younger bird, which then took its mate and territory.
The charity’s Stuart Benn said: “This is the longest-lived golden eagle ever recorded in Britain. The previous record was just over 16.
“The body, which was tagged, was found by an RSPB worker during a survey of nesting sites in June, on open ground about 100 yards away from the nest which was on a cliff. Analysis shows there was no trace of poisons or pesticides.”