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All About Eagles


Mature Bald Eagle

The world's 59 species of eagles are found on every continent except Antarctica. There are four major groups of eagles: fish eagles, booted eagles, snake eagles and giant forest eagles. America's eagles are the Bald Eagle, which is a fish eagle, and the Golden Eagle, which is a booted eagle. Golden and Bald Eagles both reside in the United States.

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus) is the only eagle species living strictly in North America. It is a fish eagle that has a presence in every state in the U.S.A. except Hawaii. The Bald Eagle can have a wing span of up to eight feet and can weigh up to 15 pounds. It inhabits areas near large bodies of water where there are plenty of fish to eat and tall trees in which to nest and roost. Bald Eagles are monogamous and remain faithful to their mate until death. Females lay one to three eggs annually in the spring time, and the incubation period is approximately 35 days.

Immature Bald Eagle

Young (immature) Bald Eagles are dark brown in color when they fledge the nest at about 12 weeks of age, and the head and tail feathers turn predominantly white in their fourth or fifth year. Bald Eagles can live up to 40 years in the wild and longer in captivity. They are primarily fish eaters. Other fish eagles that can be found outside the United States around the world include: White-bellied Sea Eagle (White-breasted Sea Eagle), Solomon Sea Eagle (Sanford's Sea Eagle), African Fish Eagle, Madagascar Fish Eagle, Pallas' Fish Eagle (Band-tailed Fish Eagle), White-tailed (Sea) Eagle (Gray Sea Eagle), Lesser Fishing Eagle, Greater Fishing Eagle (Gray headed Fishing Eagle) and Steller's Sea Eagle.

Golden Eagle The Golden Eagle (Aquila Chrysaetos) is a large brown and golden colored booted eagle that can be found in mountainous areas of the U.S.A. This bird of prey can weigh up to 15 pounds and can have a wing span of up to eight feet. It ranges throughout the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Asia. It builds nests on mountain rocks and ledges, and feeds on small mammals and reptiles.

Other booted eagles that can be found outside the U.S. around the world include: Asian Black Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Gurney's Eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Verreaux's Eagle (African Black Eagle), Wahlberg's Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, African Hawk Eagle, Booted Eagle, Little Eagle, Ayre's Hawk Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Martial Eagle, Black & White Hawk Eagle, Long-crested Eagle, Cassin's Hawk Eagle, Crested Hawk Eagle (Changeable Hawk Eagle), Mountain Hawk Eagle, Java Hawk Eagle, Celebes Hawk Eagle, Phillipine Hawk Eagle, Blyth's Hawk Eagle, Wallace's Hawk Eagle, African Crowned Eagle, Ornate Hawk Eagle, Black Hawk Eagle (Tyrant Hawk Eagle), and Black & Chestnut Eagle.

Harpy Eagle The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a splendid example of a Giant Forest Eagle. It is a lovely grey, black and white bird with a prominent crest. It is endowed with thick legs and massive feet. It is perhaps the largest eagle in the world, with some females weighing 20 lbs. or more. It lives in the rainforests of Central and South America, and preys primarily on birds and various mammals, including sloths and monkeys. It builds a huge stick nest in the crotch of an emergent forest tree. It is currently a threatened species due to the destruction of the rainforests. Other Giant Forest Eagles that can be found around the world include: the highly endangered Philippine Eagle, the Guiana Crested Eagle, and the New Guinea Eagle.

Bateleur Eagle The Bateleur Eagle (Terathopius ecaudatus) is an abberrent, but well known member of the Serpent or Snake Eagle group. Like other members of the group, the Bateleur Eagle has a large head covered with long feathers and stocky legs with short stubby toes - ideal for grasping snakes. Unlike some Snake Eagles, the Bateleur, which is "acrobat" in French, spends a lot of time soaring. It may cover 100 miles or more a day in search of food, which includes carrion and animals such as antelope, mice, birds and various reptiles. The Bateleur is a large, handsome jet black eagle with white under the wings, rufous tail and back, gray on the shoulders, bright crimson face and legs, and a black beak. Females are around 24 inches in length, and males are slightly smaller. Wingspans range from 6 to 7 feet. The Bateleur is found in the tree and brush savanna throughout Africa, south of the Sahara. Other Snake Eagles that can be found around the world include: Short-toed Eagle, Brown Snake Eagle, East African Snake Eagle (Southern Banded Snake Eagle), Banded Snake Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Kinabalu Serpent Eagle, Nicobar Serpent Eagle, Andaman Serpent Eagle, Congo Serpent Eagle (African Serpent Eagle) and Madagascar Serpent Eagle.

More About Bald Eagles


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