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 1:51:35 PM (CST) Monday, July 02, 2012

Eagle Series: Bald Eagle Facts

Common Name(s): Fish Eagle, Sea Eagle, American Eagle, White-Headed Eagle

Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Approximate Wing Span: 72 to 90 inches – females have a longer wingspan than males

Approximate Life Span: Typically 20 – 30 years

Natural Habitat: Forested areas near large bodies of water


Bald Eagles are recognized as an important American icon in the United States. From dollar bills to quarters and commemorative coins, this bird of prey is shown on a great deal coinage and state seals to symbolize the supreme power and authority of the United States. Aside from currency and national documents, you’ll find Bald Eagles soaring the skies of North America often chasing other birds of prey for their food.

This American Eagle is widely known for their large, brown body and white head hence their name. The raptor also towers over most other birds of prey making this bird extremely easy to recognize in the wild.


The Bald Eagle is known to be unique to North America and is found in areas with large bodies of water near forests such as lakes, rivers, marshes, reservoirs and coastlines. Also, they are known to flock around fish processing plants and below dams to catch an easy meal. When inactive, you’ll find most Bald Eagles perched in very tall trees to observe the area below them.

This Raptor is densely inhabited in Alaska and will stay in the area all year. Also, this bird of prey remains along the East and West coasts, Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River all year round. However, all other areas in North America will only be populated with American Eagles during the winter.

Food & Hunting

The chief cuisine of the Bald Eagle is fish. Some common types of fish they like to devour are shad, catfish, herring and salmon. Aside from fish, the American Eagle is known to eat birds, rabbits, muskrats, reptiles and amphibians. These birds of prey also gorge on their food for many days.

The Bald Eagle is known to do anything to get a bite to eat. From stealing fish from other birds to eating carrion and snatching fish from processing plants, this eagle has no set hunting pattern. When they actually decide to hunt they usually catch fish by swooping down and taking fish near the surface of bodies of water.

Behavior & Habits

Bald Eagles have a plethora of exciting actions making them a very fun bird to watch when they are active. They often times perform a courtship ritual called “talon clasping”, where two eagles lock talons and spin down to the ground together, breaking off at the last instant. American Eagles also pester other birds and mammals to take their food.

In Captivity – Feeding Habits

Bald Eagles in captivity are usually fed frozen mice, frozen rats and frozen chicks topped with supplements to help them grow and rehabilitate in an animal sanctuary or zoo. These eagles are known to eat 10 to 20 frozen mice in one sitting!


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