Bald Eagle – Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Tags: Birds, North America

bald eagle

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Closeup of bald eagle U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Karen Laubenstein
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The bald eagle is a raptor in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the United States (except Hawaii), and northern Mexico. A raptor is a bird of prey that catches, kills, and eats live animals.

Adult bald eagles have white heads and tails. The feathers on the rest of their bodies are brown and their bill, feet, and eyes are yellow.  Young eagles have a brown speckled plumage for their first four to five years. Bald eagles like to live near large bodies of open water with plenty of fish and old-growth trees for nesting. Bald eagles mainly eat fish, but they are opportunistic feeders (they will eat other things too). They hunt fish by swooping down and snatching the fish out of the water with its talons.

The bald eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 13 feet (4 meters) deep, 8 feet (2.5 meters) wide, and 1 ton in weight!

The species was on the brink of extinction in the United States late in the 20th century, but now has a stable population and has been officially removed from theU.S. federal government’s list of endangered species.

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Map of the bald eagle’s range Image Source

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Bald eagle landing on nest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dave Menke
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Sources Farrand, J.Jr. 1988. An Audobon Handbook: Eastern Birds. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.Stensaas, M. 1993. Canoe country wildlife: a field guide to the North Woods and Boundary Waters. Pfeifer- Hamilton, Duluth, MN.Udvardy, M.D.F. 1977. The Audobon Society field guide to North American birds: Western region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.


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