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Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Facts

Size 27.5-40 in (70-102 cm)
Speed Up to 40 mph (64 km/h); 99 mph (160 km/h) (nosedive)
Weight 5.5-14 lb (2.5–6.3 kg)
Lifespan 15-30 years
Food Salmon, rabbits, squirrels, birds
Predators Hawks, raccoons
Habitat North America
Order Accipitrids
Family Accipitridae
Scientific name Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Characteristics Long, yellow, curved bill

Main Characteristics

Bald eagles are large birds of prey with a distinctive appearance: their beak and feet are yellow, their head is white, and the rest of the plumage is brown.

Bald Eagle Photo: visuelldesign/Shutterstock

Behavior

Hunting Strategies

Fishing rod? Fishing net? The skilled bird of prey does not need any of this. It has a far better tool: its talons. They are sharp as razor blades and can catch any slippery fish. If the eagle detects a fish in the water, it attacks it with a nosedive and grabs it with its feet. With its tasty prey the eagle flies to its nest for a delicious meal. The bald eagle is so strong that it even can carry a young deer through the air.

Bald Eagle Photo: Ray Hennessy/Shutterstock

Senses and Abilities

Strength

If the talon of an eagle hits you, the impact is said to be twice as strong as that of a rifle bullet. Impressive!


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Sense of Vision

It is a huge compliment if somebody tells you that you have got eagle’s eyes, because bald eagles have extremely good eyesight – four to seven times better than humans. Yet, they cannot move their eyes so that they have to turn their entire head to see what is going on around them.

Swimming

Bald Eagles can swim. This looks rather funny, because they put their huge wings (wingspan up to 8 feet (2.44 meters) over their head before diving in – this may strongly remind you of the “butterfly” swim style.

Bald Eagle Photo: Paul Reeves Photography/Shutterstock

Reproduction

Nests Building

Bald eagles build huge nests, preferably in very high places such as the tops of trees. But if there is no suitable spot available they also build nests on the ground for their offspring. Bald eagles use the same nest every year and add more and more branches, grass, moss and feathers. In the course of time the nests become so large that they might suffer damage because the branches crack under the weight. This means, the eagles have to start all over again ...


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The Largest and Heaviest

The largest nest of an Bald eagle measured 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) in diameter, was 13.1 feet (4 meters) deep and weighed more than one ton (as much as a small car). Yet, the orange-footed scrubfowl holds the record for the largest nest: 164 feet (50 meters) (!) wide and 14.7 feet (4.5 meters) high!

Monogamous Birds

If two bald eagles fall in love with each other they stay together for the rest of their lives. A love dance in the air helps them to find the right partner: They lock their talons, freely fall and separate just before hitting the ground (quite clever!).

Bald Eagle Photo: FloridaStock/Shutterstock


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