Eagle

Eagles are large, predatory birds that belong to the family Accipitridae and are divided into several genera, which do not have a striking resemblance to each other. These birds are distinguished by their fully feathered head, broad beak, strong feet, and curved talons. Eagles have been found all around the world, except Antarctica.

Eagle Scientific Classification

Animalia
Chordata
Aves
Accipitriformes
Accipitridae

Types of Eagles

List of Common Types of Eagle Species

There are more than 70 eagle species that are informally classified into four groups, with the fish eagles, harpy eagles, and booted eagles being categorized under the subfamily Buteoninae and the snake eagles placed under the subfamily Circaetinae. Some of the commonly found eagle species are listed below:

  • Black-chested buzzard-eagle
  • Chaco eagle
  • Solitary eagle
  • Crested eagle
  • Harpy eagle
  • Philippine eagle
  • Papuan eagle
  • Ornate hawk-eagle
  • Black hawk-eagle
  • Black-and-white hawk-eagle
  • Black-and-chestnut eagle
  • Changeable hawk-eagle
  • Flores hawk-eagle
  • Sulawesi hawk-eagle
  • Mountain hawk-eagle
  • Legge’s hawk-eagle
  • Javan hawk-eagle
  • Blyth’s hawk-eagle
  • Pinsker’s hawk-eagle
  • Philippine hawk-eagle
  • Wallace’s hawk-eagle
  • Long-crested eagle
  • Malagasy crowned eagle
  • Crowned eagle
  • Martial eagle
  • Little eagle
  • Ayres’s hawk-eagle
  • Pygmy eagle
  • Booted eagle
  • Rufous-bellied eagle
  • African hawk-eagle
  • Bonelli’s eagle
  • Cassin’s hawk-eagle
  • Golden eagle
  • Spanish imperial eagle
  • Eastern imperial eagle
  • Tawny eagle
  • Steppe eagle
  • Indian spotted eagle
  • Greater spotted eagle
  • Lesser spotted eagle
  • Gurney’s eagle
  • Verreaux’s eagle
  • Wahlberg’s eagle
  • Wedge-tailed eagle
  • Black eagle
  • Bald eagle
  • White-tailed eagle
  • African fish eagle
  • Steller’s sea eagle
  • Sanford’s sea eagle
  • Pallas’ sea eagle
  • Madagascar fish eagle
  • Grey-headed fish eagle
  • Lesser fish eagle
  • Bateleur
  • Black-chested snake eagle
  • Short-toed snake eagle
  • Brown snake eagle
  • Western banded snake eagle
  • Fasciated snake eagle
  • Crested serpent eagle
  • Congo serpent eagle
  • Central Nicobar serpent eagle
  • Andaman serpent eagle
  • Great Nicobar serpent eagle
  • Philippine serpent eagle
  • Mountain serpent eagle
  • Sulawesi serpent eagle
  • Madagascar serpent eagle

Eagle Bird

Physical Description and Appearance

Size: Their size varies considerably, ranging from the smallest South Nicobar serpent eagle of length 16 in (40 cm) to the largest Harpy eagle and Philippine eagle measuring between 3 ft 2.5 in – 3 ft 3 in (98-100 cm).

Eagle Size

Weight: Different eagle species have different weights. The South Nicobar serpent eagle, for example, weighs only 0.99 lb (450 g) while the Steller’s sea eagle is the heaviest, weighing 15 lb (6.7 kg).

Wingspan: These birds are noted for having the largest wingspans among avian predators, with the white-tailed eagle and Steller’s sea eagle having median wingspans of 7 ft 2 in (218.5 cm) and 7 ft (212.5 cm) respectively.

Eagle Flying

Color: Eagles typically have dark-colored, brown, or blackish feathers.

Eyes: The size of their eyes is similar to that of humans, and their eyesight is roughly 4-8 times stronger as compared to the average human.

Beak: Like all predatory birds, eagles have large, hooked beaks for tearing flesh and killing their prey.

Eagle Beak

Talons: They possess curved, powerful claws that they use for catching prey.

Distribution

The places where most of the 60 eagle species are found include Europe, Africa, and Asia. Only 14 species live outside these areas, three in Australia, nine in South and Central America, and two in North America.

What kind of Habitats are they found in

Most eagle species prefer building their nests on high cliffs and in tall trees near water bodies like streams, lakes, and rivers. Since eagles are sensitive to disturbances caused by human activity, they require extensive, undisturbed forested lands for nesting.

Eagle Nest

How long do they live

In the wild, eagles may live for about 14-30 years, but in captivity, they have lifespans at over 40 years. The oldest in the wild was a banded Bald eagle that died at 38 years of age in 2015 after being hit by a car.

What do they eat

Eagles are apex avian predators and prey on a variety of birds, fish, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and crabs. When food is scarce, these carnivores take advantage of decaying or dead flesh. Bald eagles like eating fish while golden eagles primarily eat marmots, ground squirrels, rabbits, bighorn sheep, and young pronghorn antelope.

Eagle Animal

Behavior

  • Eagles have large wings, and they enjoy flying at high altitudes.
  • These predatory birds are excellent hunters, and they put up a fierce fight to regain their territory or win their prey no matter what its size or strength.
  • Eagles use strong winds and upward air currents coming off mountains and hills to gain altitude and fly large distances, especially when migrating to another location. It keeps them from flapping their wings, which saves a significant amount of energy.
  • When they get weak and old, eagles stay hidden in rocks and pluck their worn-out feathers. They wait in their hiding place until new feathers grow.

Adaptations

  • All eagle species, including the small-sized booted eagle, have relatively longer, more evenly broad wings as compared to hawks and buzzards. This physical characteristic helps in a faster, more direct flight.
  • They have larger, heavier, and sharper beaks than other predatory birds that help in biting and tearing the flesh of prey with more force.
  • Eagles have the sharpest eyesight in the animal kingdom that enables them to locate prey from a long distance.
  • Their muscular toes with sharp, powerful talons help in holding and carrying larger prey like fish, sheep, and antelopes to a perch.
Eagle

How do they Reproduce and Mate

The breeding process starts with building a nest in which both the male and female take part. Nesting begins one to three months before the mating season. If they have successfully produced and protected their young at the nest, they will use that same nest every year.

They engage in a courtship display that involves swooping flight, circling, and cartwheeling in the air, followed by copulation. Mating occurs in the nest or on a branch with the male eagle mounting the female. The process by which both the male and female cloaca touch and the sperm is transferred is called the cloacal kiss.

Eagles are monogamous, meaning a pair remains together for life. The female usually lays a clutch of 1-3 eggs about 5-10 days after copulation. Both the male and female eagles incubate their eggs for about 35-45 days, after which the eggs hatch in the order laid.

What do the Baby Eagles look like

After hatching, the chicks are nearly blind, wet, and exhausted. They have dark brown eyes that open after several hours.

Eagle-FAQs

1. What is a baby eagle called?

An eaglet.

2. What predators may eat eagles?

Eagles are apex predators and are not preyed upon by any other animals. However, great horned owls, ravens, and raccoons may attack eagle nests and feed on their eggs or nestlings.

3. Do eagles migrate?

Yes. During fall and winter months, eagles migrate to warmer locations, usually near dams, large rivers, and the coast. Their flight pattern is dependent mainly on the wind current.

4. How far can an eagle see?

Because of their keen eyesight, eagles can spot their prey (like a rabbit) roughly 3.2 km away.

5. How high can an eagle fly?

Eagles can soar up to a height of more than 10,000 ft and take long glides to cover vast distances.

6. What is a group of eagles called?

Convocation

7. How fast can an eagle fly?

Eagles can fly at 30 mph and achieve faster speeds when diving after prey. Golden eagles can dive at 150 mph, while bald eagles have a diving speed of 100 mph.

8. How much weight can an eagle carry?

Eagles can carry prey heavier than themselves. Crowned and golden eagles have killed a 66 lb ungulate while a martial eagle has killed a duiker weighing 82 lb.

Eagle Flying

Interesting Facts

  • Many eagles lay two or more eggs in their nests (called eyries), and the dominant larger chick often kills its sibling. Shockingly, the parent eagles do not take action in stopping the killing.
  • In ancient Greek mythology, the eagle is considered the patron animal of Zeus.
  • Being referred to as the “King of Birds”, the eagle is commonly displayed on the coat of arms in many countries like Austria.