A beautiful moment in the sleet: It was a confrontation that ended in defeat for one of the most majestic birds in the sky.

It’s a confrontation that ends in defeat for one of the most majestic birds of the skies. A golden eagle is robbed of his prey in Arctic conditions after a mid-air fight with a stronger white-tailed eagle.

To capture the extraordinary sequence of images, British photographer Richard Costin spent five days wrapped in several sleeping bags in a hide in Northern Norway, where the temperature was -10C.

Eventually he saw the golden eagle eating a fox, and the white-tailed eagle moving in. Second by second, he recorded what followed: the fearsome clash of talons, the moment the golden eagle knew it was time to retreat and lick his wounds, and finally the victor with his spoils.

A golden eagle turns his pitiless gaze on the landscape

Aha! A dead fox offers a free feast, never mind the biting wind

But high up, a passing white-tailed eagle spots the chance of a fast food robbery

Steathily does it – the white-tailed, also known as the sea eagle, controls his approach to gain most surprise

The two square up on a branch, the white-tailed drawing himself up to full majesty

The fight starts: Feathers and snow fly, as the two giant birds of prey deploy their deadliest weapons – those long talons with razor-sharp points

The imperious white-tailed eagle gains the upper hand while the possibly younger golden eagle looks flustered

The golden eagle, humiliated and hungry, retires to lick his wounds

The spoils to the victor and, it seems, a moment of scorn


Taken in northern Norway, they show the Golden Eagle arriving at the carcass in a blizzard only for the White Tailed Eagle to muscle in on the action.

After tussling claw to claw, the White Tailed Eagle was victorious and chased away the crows to claim its prize.

Richard, from Kent, said: ‘To take these images I spent nine hours a day for five days in a small wooden hide on a remote hill in Norway.

‘The temperature outside was approximately -10 and I was well wrapped up in several sleeping bags as I wasn’t able to move much to keep warm.

‘It was essential to be in before sunrise and out after sunset so the eagles did not associate the hide with humans.

‘Some of the days I would only get a few moments with an eagle outside and others several hours.

‘The blizzard images were taken on several occasions, these blizzards were short lived, usually no more than 20 minutes at a time but were intense.

‘The eagles were unfazed by these and it is a testament as to how incredible these hardy birds are. The moment I captured a Golden and White Tailed eagle together in the blizzard made all the waiting worth-while.’