Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

America's National Symbol

The bald eagle has a majestic and regal reputation. All bald eagles are protected under several lawful acts, and those in human care are considered property of the federal government.

About the Species

Bald eagles are agile hunters, but they also assume the role of cunning thieves.

Bald eagles can use their keen eyesight and incredibly strong talons to spot and swipe fish from lakes and running streams. This takes a lot of effort, however, and bald eagles will not hesitate to let other predators do the hard work for them. They commonly steal prey from smaller raptors such as osprey, a "fishy" behavior that once drove Benjamin Franklin to suggest the wild turkey as the national bird instead of the bald eagle. The bald eagle is not actually bald, but has a white head of feathers! This coloration develops with maturity (around 7 years of age). Once endangered, they are now protected under the Endangered Species Act and have made an extraordinary comeback. They are now considered a common species, but nonetheless remain fiercely protected in the United States.

Words From the Experts

Quotes

These magnificent birds are usually seen as the national symbol of the United States. We have 3 Bald Eagles who are permanent residents here at the Zoo, all of which were injured in the wild and are unable to fly. This is also why they do not leave their open air habitat!

Courtney

Did You Know?

Bald eagle nests can reach up to 10 ft wide and 20 ft deep!

Facts

Origin

northern Canada to northern Mexico

Habitat

Rivers, lakes, marshes

Size

Height: 71–96 cm Wingspan: 168–244 cm | 2.5–6.3 kg

Diet

Fish, birds, crustaceans, amphibians, small mammals, reptiles

Predators

No natural predators

Natural Defenses

Large talons and curved beaks

Reproduction

1–3 eggs per clutch

Status

Formerly Endangered, now Least Concern

Life Expectancy

28–36 years

  • Saving Animals From Extinction
  • Culture Builds Florida
  • Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums
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