Bald eagle in exhibit
Scientific Name
Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Geographic Range
North America
Fish (also, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, mammals, and carrion)
Bald eagle in exhibit Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern Endangered Status Graph - Least Concern

More Information

Bald eagles are large raptors with long, broad wings. They may weigh up to 14 pounds on average, with wingspans of up to 8.5 feet. They are named for the white feathers on their head that give them a “bald” appearance. The rest of their body is covered with brown feathers, except for a white tail. Their bill and feet are bright yellow, and they have a long, hooked beak. Females are larger than males.

Bald eagles spend most of their time in pairs, although they sometimes collect in large groups in winter. They engage in various courtship behaviors, including lock talons and cartwheel downward, breaking away just before reaching the ground. They build nests in trees, except when cliff faces, or ground sites are the only sites available. These nests may be 180 feet off the ground. Up to three eggs are laid per clutch and incubated by both parents for about 35 days. Young birds remain in the next for two or three months.

Did You Know?

  • Bald eagles build some of the world’s largest bird nests, which measure 5–6 feet in diameter and can be 2–4 feet high.
  • They are excellent hunters and have been known to hunt cooperatively, with one bird flushing prey out toward another. They have also been known to steal food mid-flight from other birds of prey or harass them until they drop their catch.
  • By 1963, because of several threats only 417 pairs of bald eagles remained. However, protections were put into place in the 1970s and they were removed from the Endangered Species Act list in 2007. They still face issues, including collisions with human-made objects, habitat destruction, and environmental pollution, but they remain protected.


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