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April 21, 2018  |  Login

Bald Eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus

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What Are They Like?

Majestic and symbolic, the bald eagle is one of the most recognizable birds in the world. Contrary to its name, Bald Eagles are not bald at all. Their plumage on their heads is a bright white that contrasts the dark brown feathers on their body. Bald eagles stand about 28-38 inches (71- 97centimeters) tall, and have a wide wingspan that measures 75-90 inches (190-228 centimeters). They are one of the largest predatory raptors and are equipped with large hooked bills and strong, sharp talons. They also have excellent vision; their eyesight is at least four times as sharp as a human with perfect vision.

Where Do They Live?

Bald eagles are found in Alaska, Canada and the lower 48 American States. They typically inhabit forests, seacoasts, valleys and mountainous regions located near water.

Did You Know?
The bald eagle was officially adopted as the U.S. national emblem on June 20, 1782.

How Are Babies Made?

Bald eagles keep the same mate for life. During breeding season, males and females will work together to construct a nest out of sticks and twigs. Females typically lay one to three eggs at a time, and both parents take turns incubating them until they hatch.

What Do They Eat?

Bald eagles eat fish, waterfowl and small mammals.

Did You Know?
Male bald eagles are usually smaller than females.

What Do They Do?

Bald eagles hunt by swooping down and catching prey with their talons. They are also known to aggressively take food from other birds. Bald eagles live in pairs during mating season, but are solitary for migrations and during the winter. They engage in an unusual behavior, in which two eagles will grasp talons mid-flight, then plummet towards the ground and let go at the last moment.

How Concerned Should We Be?
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps a "Red List" of species in danger worldwide, lists the Bald Eagle as "least concern." At one point, the bald eagle almost faced extinction due to DDT (pesticide) found in their prey. After DDT was officially banned in 1972, and the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, the Bald Eagle population significantly improved. Today, their biggest threats are illegal hunting and habitat loss.

What's Being Done?

In 2007, the bald eagle was officially removed from the list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act. Currently, these magnificent birds are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Their rapid recovery is a true conservation success story


American Bald Eagle

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