My Bantam Lake

Bald Eagle

Written on 06/10/2018

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The Bald Eagle is much larger than most other raptors, including the Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk. It has a heavy body, large head, and long, hooked bill. In flight, a Bald Eagle holds its broad wings flat like a board. Bald Eagles measure 71 to 96 centimeters in length, with a wingspan of approximately 204 centimeters. Adult Bald Eagles have white heads and tails with dark broan bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Immature birds have mostly dark heads and tails; their brown wings and bodies are mottled with white in varying amounts. Young birds attain adult plumage in about 5 years. Bald Eagles can be found soaring high in the sky, flapping low over treetops with slow wingbeats, or perched in trees or on the ground. They scavenge many meals by harrassing other birds or by eating carrion or garbage. They eat mainly fish, but also hunt mammals, gulls, and waterfowl. These birds live near lakes, reservoirs, rivers, marshes, and coasts. Once endangered by hunting and pesticides, Bald Eagles have fluorished under protection. They are now of low conservation concern.

Fun Facts:

  • An observer once witnessed six Bald Eagles passing sticks to each other in midair, as toys.
  • The largest Bald Eagle nest on record was in St. Petersburg, Florida and measured 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall.
  • The oldest recorded Bald Eagle in the wild lived to be 38 years old.


Source: Bald Eagle Overview and Identification Information, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology