The number of birds of prey being illegally poisoned in Scotland has fallen dramatically, according to the Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA).

Last year, there were 10 confirmed illegal poisonings, with the loss of 16 birds of prey.

The figure had represented a 42% fall from 2010, when there were 22 incidents recorded and 28 birds of prey lost.

This year, there was only one confirmed poisoning incident in the first quarter.

A dead golden eagle, found in the Highlands in March, was poisoned using aldicarb bendiocarb.

SGA chairman Alex Hogg said: "The poisoning of birds of prey has no place in our countryside and, through partnership working and education, that message is getting through to the tiny percentage of individuals whose actions work against the great majority who manage land and wildlife responsibly."

The results were regarded cautiously by the RSPB, who claimed that birds of prey are also persecuted by means other than poisoning.

The penalty for poisoning a bird of prey can be up to six months' imprisonment and/or a £5000 fine.