bald eagle

5 Birds That Look Like Bald Eagles (Explained)

The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and an icon in American culture. Bald Eagles are the national bird of the United States. Their distinctive white head and tail feathers have made them an iconic symbol for America.

Their wingspan can reach over 7 feet wide, and they weigh around 10 pounds. The bald eagle is a fierce predator, with sharp talons that will kill its prey through suffocation or breaking bones.

They eat mostly fish, but sometimes small mammals like rabbits if there aren’t enough fish available to feed on.

There are some birds that look like bald eagles, but there are many differences between them as well, and it can be hard to tell them apart if you don’t know what to look for. This article will explain and help you to distinguish these birds of prey.

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
Image by GeorgeB2 from Pixabay

The Red-tail Hawk is a bird of prey that breeds throughout most of North America. It is known for its remarkable ability to soar in the sky and catch prey with ease. This bird has beautiful red tail feathers, which are typically used as mating signals during courtship displays.

The red-tailed hawk has long, broad wings and relatively short tail feathers. They have an average length between 18 and 26″ inches (45 to 65 cm) with a wingspan up to 55″ inches (4.5 ft) and weigh 2.5 lbs. They are found in forests, deserts, prairies and grasslands.

This bird hunts for food by watching from an elevated perch or soaring over open country with long pointed wings. They have the broadest range of any raptor in North America.

The Red-tail Hawk’s diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, rabbits and squirrels but will also eat birds, It has two distinctive features: its brick-red tail and an easily identifiable “keck” call.

There are many reasons why people may mistake a red-tailed hawk for a bald eagle. The most common reason is because the two birds have similar features and fly in very similar ways.

Red-tailed Hawks have a shorter wingspan, smaller head, and lighter body color than bald eagles.

The easiest way to tell the difference between these two birds is by looking at the tail feathers. A red-tail’s tail feathers are brick-red with only a few white or yellow patches while a bald eagle has lots of white spots on its tail feathers.

Another way you can do to tell them apart is if you see feathers on their heads – eagles don’t have any feathers there.

Related Articles:

Golden Eagle

The American Golden Eagle is a bird of prey known for its size and power. These birds measure 65 to 100 cm (25 to 40 in) in length and weight of 5 kg (11 lbs.). This North American bird of prey that’s easily recognized by its huge, sharp beak and brown body with light-colored feathers on the underside.

This species has long been admired for its beauty and size. Despite being native to many parts of the United States, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana Nevada Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming as well as northern Mexico, —some golden eagles live in British Columbia Canada.

Golden Eagles are known to have the 5th longest wingspan of 7-8 ft wide among eagles, and are capable of speeds over 100 miles per hour.

These raptors typically soar in open areas and use their long, sharp talons to catch small mammals such as rabbits or squirrels. They can also eat snakes, lizards, fish, carrion (dead animals), and even other eagles!

Many people often mistake the American Golden Eagle for a bald eagle. They are similar in size and have dark brown bodies, but they can be distinguished by their head coloration.

The bald eagle has a white head and tail while the golden eagle has a brown head with gold colored feathers on the back of their necks.

Another easy way to tell them apart is by looking at their beaks; bald eagles have big yellow beaks while golden eagles have black ones that are smaller. Bald eagles also tend to show more white on their tails than golden eagles.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture
Image by Joshua Choate from Pixabay

The Turkey Vulture is a very large bird, with a length of 60–80 cm (23.5–31.5 in), wingspan of 160–180 cm (63–71 in) and weighs 1.0 to 2.40 kg (2.2 to 5.3 lb).

Turkey vultures are found throughout North America found in deserts, grasslands, and other dry areas across the Western Hemisphere as well as Central and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia at any altitude up to 3100 m (10600 ft).

They live year-round throughout the United States and Canada, but they migrate to warmer climates during winter months. They are mainly scavengers that feed on dead animals such as rodents and snakes in addition to its diet of decaying meat from carcasses and other animal remains. 

Turkey Vultures have a keen sense of smell that allows them to find food from long distances away, as well as a great eyesight for spotting small animals from high up in the sky. 

In the world of birds, bald eagles and turkey vultures are both soaring scavengers that may look similar in flight, however, they are quite different in looks and behavior.

Turkey Vultures have a dark brown body and a black head that is much smaller in comparison to the bald eagle, and its wings are held in a noticeable upside down V-shape when in flight, and often seen around open spaces like fields or water.

Bald Eagles can be identified by their white head and tail feathers against a dark body, and have a yellow hooked beak, as well as their habit of hovering is low over the ground while hunting.

Black Vulture

Black Vulture
Image by wileydoc from Pixabay

The Black Vulture is a large bird of prey common in the Americas. It is found from southern Canada to central Argentina, and as far north as Texas and California. The American Black Vulture measures 55-75 cm (21.6-29.5 in) in length, with a 4.25-5.5 ft (52-66 in) wingspan and a weight of 1.58 to 3 kg (3.5 to 6.6 lb). 

They are opportunistic scavengers that will eat any meat they can find, including carrion and garbage; however, their diet consists mainly of animal carcasses.  The species lives near areas where there are still active or recently dead animals, so it can feed on carrion (dead flesh).

In some places, they also live in mountainous regions that have forests with heavy undergrowth because these areas offer lots of hiding spots for food sources. They are often seen sitting on telephone poles and other high spots, waiting for the next meal to come along.

The most notable trait of the Black Vulture is its head that is dark gray and wrinkled, earning it the nickname “Old Man.” They can be easily identified by their thick black body and gray wings. They also have long featherless necks, a dark tail with a small white tip, yellow eyes, and sharp hooked beaks.

Black vultures are smaller than bald eagles, and have much shorter tails and smaller dark heads, while the Bald Eagles have a large white head. Black vultures also don’t fly as high or as fast as bald eagles, and stay closer to ground level.

They live all over North America and Central America so if you ever see one of these birds in your area, be sure to look at it closely because it’s likely that you’ll find something interesting about them!

Western Osprey

Western Osprey
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

The Western Osprey has been a favorite of bird watchers in the Northern Rockies for many years. The elusive raptor is known to hunt near wetlands and feed on fish, crustaceans, frogs, snakes and other birds such as gulls or ducks.

The Western Osprey is a large hawk fish eating bird of prey measuring 50–65 cm (19.6–25.5 in) in length and weigh between 1.0–2.0 kg (2.1 lb –4.4 lb).

They have a wingspan of 125-180 cm (49-70 inches) and are found mostly on the west coast of North America from Southern California to Alaska, with an eastward range extension into Canada. The species is known for being endangered and rare, but their numbers are slowly increasing.

This is a large, fish-eating raptor with distinctive brown and white plumage and long wings can be seen circling over the coastlines, catching wind currents to glide effortlessly on thermals as it searches for food in shallow water.

They also take advantage of trees to perch and build nests high off the ground. In winter, these birds migrate south where they may live near water or in dry climates such as deserts.

The difference between an osprey and a bald eagle is more than just size. An osprey has brownish feathers on its head, whereas the bald eagle has white feathers.

Both have brown wings and tails, but the colors are reversed with an osprey having dark brown wings and tail while the bald eagle’s wings are lighter in color.

Ospreys have shorter beaks which they use to catch their prey; meanwhile, bald eagles have longer beaks which they use to tear the flesh of their prey.