Tourists on the lookout for white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Skye have helped add £2.4 million to the Scottish economy.

A survey carried out by RSPB Scotland found that the wildlife tourism on the island created more than £4.2 million between August 2013 and October last year.

It also determined that about 200 jobs on Skye the now supported entirely by wildlife tourism.

The predatory birds alone contributed £2.4 million according to the survey, up from £1.8 million from a similar study undertaken in 2008.

Dr Alison MacLennan, RSPB Scotland's conservation officer for Skye and Wester Ross, said the eagles had caused a "steady increase" in the number of island visitors.

She said: "The number of people visiting the island hoping to see sea eagles has steadily increased year-on-year over the past 10 years.

"We have had tremendous demand for our sea eagle guide, produces as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund-supported Seeviews project, which indicate where birds can be seen and how to identify them.

"And, of course, a number of businesses have been started in recent years on Skye to cater for the increasing demand to see these magnificent birds in the wild, with wildlife guides and tour boats now operating from many locations around the island."

To cater for the booming interest, the RSPB and Forestry Commission Scotland are now trialling a sea eagle viewing platform at the commission's Kylerhea site.

Dr MacLennan added: "We have been overwhelmed by the positive response we are receiving for our 'date with nature' project at Kylerhea.

"It is a brilliant location, overlooking the narrows that separate the island from the mainland, where visitors are able to experience, at first hand, all the wonderful wildlife that can be seen there.

"Otters, seals, dolphins, porpoises and seabirds are all regular if not daily occurrences.

"The star of the show is of course Victor the sea eagle who regularly turns out to entertain the visitors while he goes about stealing or catching fish to feed his offspring."

Dr MacLennan added: "It is very encouraging that the growing wildlife interest, as demonstrated by this economic report, is also benefiting local businesses.

Dr MacLennan said, "Many visitors travel across the narrows using the ferry so they have an opportunity to enjoy the total experience from the heart of where the action takes place as well as viewing it from the shelter of the hide. But whether you are in the hide or on the water, it is awe inspiring."

The Kylerhea viewing facility is manned between Tuesday and Saturday by local residents Andy Law and Jake Butcher.