47 Interesting Facts About Bald Eagles: A Complete Guide!

Bald eagles are a symbol of strength and freedom in the United States. These majestic birds have captivated us with their impressive wingspan and powerful hunt, but how much do you really know about them?

In this complete guide, we explore 47 interesting facts about bald eagles that will enlighten and amaze you! From information on their diet to details on their mating habits, get ready to be swept away by the fascinating world of bald eagles.

Interesting Facts About Bald Eagles

  • Length: 27.6-38.2 in (70-97 cm)
  • Weight: 105.8-222.2 oz (6.6 -14 lbs.)
  • Wingspan: 70-90.5 in (177.8-230 cm)
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Haliaeetus
  • Species: H. leucocephalus
  • Binomial Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus (Carl Linnaeus 1766)
  • Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Range: The Bald Eagle, the national bird of the United States, inhabits a vast range across North America, encompassing much of Canada, the entire continental US, and northern Mexico, as well as some areas in Central America and several Caribbean islands.
  • Migration: Bald Eagles tend to migrate south to warmer climates when winter approaches, with Florida being a popular destination. They also migrate north for breeding season, typically from late February through mid-June or early July, which helps them take advantage of abundant food sources. Coastal regions such as the Pacific Northwest and Alaska are homebase points for the birds, since they offer up plenty of fish. During their migrations in other parts of the United States, they prefer to stay close to shorelines and inland rivers where prey is abundant. The path of their migration route thus tends to follow bodies of water like lakes, rivers, bays and more so that they may feed on fish, amphibians and other aquatic creatures throughout their journey.
  • Habitat: The Bald Eagle’s main habitats are typically near large bodies of water. They can be found near coasts, rivers, lakes, marshes, or even wetlands. In the United States, they can also be found on inland prairies as well as high mountains. The reason for this is because of their need for open space and plenty of food sources like fish and small mammals.
  • Diet: Its diet mainly consists of fish, but it will also hunt small mammals and scavenge carrion. It’s been found that the eagle will migrate between areas with more plentiful food sources during certain times of year. The eagle has also adapted to taking advantage of human-provided resources such as dumpsters, garbage cans, and roadkill when available. This flexibility in its diet allows the bald eagle to thrive throughout much of its range. Furthermore, this species is able to adjust their eating habits based on the seasons and availability of food sources. This adaptation makes them particularly well suited for survival in diverse environments.
  • Global extent of occurrence:  28,400,000 km2  (10,965,301.3 sq mi.)
  • Global Population: est. 316,700 mature individuals. – 71,400 nesting pairs.
  • European Population: 0
  • Conservation Status: Listed as Least Concern (Population Increasing).
  • Lifespan: In the Wild: 15–25 years of age. – In Captivity: Up to 50 years of age.
  • Breeding Period: Between November and late May. Breeding season varies by region.
  • Incubation Duration: 34–36 days.
  • Nestling Duration: 56–98 days.
  • Chicks Fledge: 10–12 weeks of age.
  • Clutch Size: 1–3 eggs. 
  • Number of Broods: 1 brood per year.
  • Egg Color: Dull white with no markings.
  • Nesting Habits: Bald Eagles are majestic birds of prey whose nesting preferences vary depending on their habitat. In regions with trees, they build high-up nests near to the trunk and away from the crown, unlike Ospreys. Meanwhile, in more southern areas, Bald Eagles can often be seen nesting in deciduous trees, mangroves and even cacti. It is unknown who chooses the nest site; however, it seems that taller coniferous trees protruding above the forest canopy offer them easy access to flight and good visibility.
A Bald Eagle perched on a branch.
Image by Bryan Hanson from Pixabay

Bald Eagles are only found in North America.

Bald Eagles are found throughout North America. It is estimated that there are just over 317,000 Bald Eagles in the United States alone. They were once considered an endangered species due to population loss caused by habitat destruction and pesticide use on food crops.

Bald Eagles are from the “Haliaeetus” Bird Family.

Bald Eagles are members of the bird family called “Haliaeetus.” This is a large group of eagles that includes Sea Eagles, Fish Eagles, and White-tailed Sea Eagles. 

The Bald Eagle’s Scientific Name is…

The scientific name for the bald eagle is “Haliaeetus leucocephalus”, which means “Sea Eagle with White Head”.

Bald Eagles are Surprisingly Fast.

The bald eagle is a beautiful bird, but it’s also one of the fastest birds in North America. It can fly at cruising speeds of 40 miles per hour and dive at speeds of 200 miles per hour. 

Bald Eagles Begin Their Nesting Season in December.

In the northern United States, Bald Eagles have been known to start their nesting season as early as December. In some regions, Bald Eagles nest as late as June and lay eggs for them in January. Bald eagles are also an indicator of a healthy environment because they depend on clean water and air quality to survive.

They Live Mostly Near Large Bodies of Water. 

Bald eagles live primarily near water sources such as lakes, rivers, streams, and coastlines because this is where their food source (fish) lives.

A Bald Eagle catches a meal out of the water.
Image by Nadeem Saleem from Pixabay

They Are One of North America’s Largest Birds of Prey.

They are one of North America’s largest birds of prey and can weigh up to 14 pounds with a wingspan of 7 feet.

A Bald Eagle’s Lifespan is Over 50 Years.

Bald Eagles typically live around 30 years in the wild, but in captivity, some have been recorded living for more than 50 years. 

Bald Eagles Hunt at an Altitude of 1000-3000 Feet.

Bald eagles typically fly at an altitude of 1000-3000 feet. This is high enough that they can’t be spotted by their prey but low enough that they can spot their prey easily.

A Bald Eagle’s Talons Can Grow Up to 3 Inches Long.

A bald eagle’s talons can grow up to 3 inches long. The average size of a bald eagle’s talon is about 1 inch, but the maximum length is 3 inches. They are usually dark brown or black in color and are used for defense and hunting prey. 

A bald eagle landing on a tree branch.
Photo by David Dibert from Pexels

Bald Eagles Aren’t Born With White Heads.

Bald eagles are known for their white heads, but what many people don’t know is that bald eagles aren’t born with white heads. The head turns pure white when the bird reaches 4-5 years old and all the follicles have been fully grown in which each strand will turn from dark brown to light brown or even completely white as new feathers come in with pale tips. This gradual change gives birds their distinctive look that contrasts against their dark bodies.

Bald Eagles are Monogamous and Mate for Life.

Bald eagles mate for life. They are monogamous and will stay with their partner even if they become ill or injured. The pair will share one nest, defend it from intruders and look after the eggs together.

One member of the pair takes on the responsibility of incubating the eggs while their partner hunts for food nearby to bring back to them to eat.

Female Bald Eagles Are Larger Than Males

Female Bald Eagles are larger than males. They can be up to one-third larger than males and typically weigh a little more, too. The average weight for female bald eagles is around 10-15 pounds, while the average weight for male bald eagles is about 10 pounds.

There are two reasons why females might be heavier: they need more energy because they have to lay eggs and feed their young; and they need to store fat reserves in order to sustain themselves during times of food scarcity when prey animals are not as abundant.

Baby Eagles are Called Eaglets or Fledglings.

Baby Eagles are called Eaglets or Fledglings. Eagles start life as an egg, hatching into a nestling. Nestlings will stay in the nest for about 8 weeks until they grow their feathers and can fly on their own.

After this stage of development, baby eagles are referred to as fledglings. The first time they fly is called “fledge”. The term ‘eaglet’ is reserved for the first young bird that hatches from its egg and lives to see adulthood.

The Bald Eagle, America’s National Bird.

The bald eagle is America’s national bird. The bald eagle was first used as a symbol of the United States on December 17, 1782, when it appeared on the Great Seal of the United States.

Since then, it has been incorporated into many other aspects of American life and culture, including being featured on coins such as quarters and even appearing in movies like “Freedom Writers.” One way that this patriotic animal has made its mark in our country is through preservation efforts.

A bald eagle perched on a dead tree.
Photo by Cheryl Prince from Pexels

A Group of Bald Eagles is Called a “Convocation.”

A group of bald eagles is called a “Convocation.”. A convocation of eagles can consist of as few as two to five or up to several hundred. The term was first coined by the naturalist John James Audubon in 1827, who said he came across this phenomenon while hunting for game near Hendersonville, North Carolina and reported it in his book The Birds of America.​​​​​​​

An Eagle’s Vision Is 4 to 8 Times Better Than Humans.

Eagles have one of the best eyesight in the animal kingdom, and can see a lot more than humans. An eagle’s vision is 4 to 8 times better than human beings because they are able to see into the ultraviolet spectrum. The ability to see in UV light has allowed eagles to hunt during the day or night.

The eagles’ retina also has a much higher density of rods, which allow them to detect movement at a greater distance. They also have a much larger and more powerful lens in their eye, which gathers more light than humans do.

The Bald Eagle is a Symbol of American Patriotism.

The bald eagle is a symbol of American patriotism and can be seen on both state flags and national seals as well as many other symbols associated with the USA.

Related Post: 5 Birds That Look Like Bald Eagles (Explained)


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    Meet Vince, the passionate founder of Learn Bird Watching, boasting 30 years of birding experience. With an unwavering mission to empower fellow bird enthusiasts, Vince shares invaluable wisdom and guidance. Whether you're a budding birder or a seasoned avian aficionado, his wealth of knowledge is at your service. Reach out for expert insights and support at admin@learnbirdwatching.com, and embark on a rewarding journey in the world of birds.