Bald Eagle Majesty: Emblematic Bird of the USA

The Emblematic Bird of the USA

If you’re curious to have a glance at the concrete manifestation of freedom, I suggest you look at bald eagle as it is a symbol of strength, power and freedom. In conjunction with the distinctive characteristics of bald eagle, the way it soars through the sky makes it one-of-a-kind bird. It is within the realm of possibility that these attributes are the rationale behind its being the national bird of the United States of America.

KingdomPhylumClassOrderFamilyGenusScientific Name
AnimaliaChordataAvesAccipitriformesAccipitridaeHaliaeetusHaliaeetus Leucocephalus
Taxonomic Classification of Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

During the latter part of 20th century, bald eagles – a majestic birds of prey – was on the edge of extirpation in the US; serendipitously, on July 12, 1995, the species was excluded from the endangered species list of the US. This piece of construct will escort you through the in-depth insights from bald eagle’s evolution and geography to fun facts and conservation status. Without more ado, let’s get the ball rolling.

Origin and Evolution

Scientists are of the view that during the Mesozoic Era, the evolution of birds occurred from reptiles named Theropods between 143 million and 66 million years ago. Reptilian scales were what feathers formed from and beaks swapped teeth ultimately. Fossil records belonging to the very timespan signal that the earliest birds in point of fact had teeth. It is about tens of millions of years ago when an ancient array of birds named Kites started hunting and eating fish.

Sea eagles were the first ones descended from Kites back in time by 36 million years. The oldest fossil having striking similarities with the bald eagles emerged about one million years in the past.


Bald eagles covering the major portion of North America occupy a substantial expanse of land that stretches from northern Mexico to the United States of America. The migration of these birds is contingent to location, that is, if they have access to open water, they stay there year-round; contrary to that, they migrate to the south or to the coast if water freezes during the winter season.

As the bald eagle soared majestically above the North American wilderness, its regal silhouette contrasted against the vast sky, while below in the Australian grasslands, the zebra finch.


Continents North America, Europe, Asia
Subcontinents Central America, Caribbean Islands
Countries Canada, Mexico, United States, Belize, Ireland, Russia
Bio-geographical RealmsNearctic
Biome Mangrove, Taiga, Temperate broadleaf and mixed forest, Temperate coniferous forest, Temperate grasslands, Tundra, Flooded grasslands and savannas
Climate ZonesTemperate, Cold and Tropical


Once bald eagles were on the edge of extirpation and included in endangered birds in North America. The breeding pairs of bald eagles swindled to a few hundred pairs by the mid-20th century. In the immediate present, the figure of breeding pairs has been boosted up to 250,000, approximately 88% of which is present in the US alone.

Population Number

The all-inclusive breeding population size of the bald eagle is 250,000 individuals. When it comes to the inclusion in IUCN Red List, this species is categorized as Least Concern (LC), for its number is augmenting incrementally.

Ecological Niche

Bald eagles, being on-show predators, hold immense significance in the ecosystem. Following to their population deterioration and subsequent recovery brought a striking influence on the organisms of their habitat. I can fetch you the example of murres here, that is, owing to the expansion in the bald eagle’s population, the number of murres’ has gone through a downturn.


Bald Eagle habitat

Of particular interest is the fact that of the sea eagle genus, the bald eagles are the only members that inhabit North American continent as their sole residence. Apart from this, you can find them taking their majestic flights in Mexico, Florida, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, several islands encompassing Miquelon and Saint Pierre and some rivers and lakes in the Midwest. They’ve been observed as distant as the Arctic in the north and as remote as Belize and Bermuda in south. The incredibly pervasive of bald eagles’ habitats are the mature forests where they have access to a large source of water.

Bald Eagle’s Nest

The coniferous, tall trees or hardwood trees bordered by smaller trees are the spots bald eagles perch, nest and roost at. They most often than not opt for a tree with the approximately height of 66 feet entertaining them with some perks like good visibility of surrounding area, open structure and less distance from their prey. 

Furthermore, you may locate their nests on cliffs, grounds, electrical poles, cellular phone towers. Let me put forth the rationale behind their nesting on these spots; they feel detestation for the spots where human hustle and bustle is intense. Thus, to build their nests, they target the spots where human disturbance is lesser.


Bald Eagle appearance

The large, hooked beak and sharp talons on its feet are the most apparent gears of its strength and power. In juxtaposition to males, the females have about 25% bigger size in this species.

Color and Skin

When it comes to the bald eagle’s color, dark brown color they got on their body and wings while their head and tail are white. Contrary to that its legs and feet are bright yellow and the magical eyes got light yellow color. The color combination of the young and sub-adults is what appeals the most, that is, there are distinct degrees of white marks on the lower portion of their bodies.

The bald eagle’s characteristic that outshines the rest of the birds throughout North America is its height – about 28 to 38 inches. Imagine the size of their wings that sometimes reach seven feet from one tip to the other while outstretching its wings and soaring in the sky. Just as Bald Eagle features the wild spirit of North America, Bactrian camel stands as a testament to life’s perseverance in Asia’s massive landscapes.


The anatomy that this species possesses is what a top predator needs. The piercing eyes and the sharp beak provide it remarkable vision to spot a prey. Let’s dive into the astonishing characteristics it has with reference to anatomy.  

Head White-feathered head (adults) or mottled brown head (juveniles)
Eyes Piercing yellow eyes with excellent vision
Beak Sharp, hooked yellow beak for tearing and eating prey
Tongue Pinkish, relatively narrow and quite flexible
Wings Broad wingspan (6 to 7.5 feet or 1.8 to 2.3 meters)
Body Strong and muscular body
Tail Long and wide tail feathers
Legs and FeetFeatherless yellow legs
Size Adults can reach a height of 28 to 38 inches
Weight Adults can reach a height of 28 to 40 inches

Reproduction and Life Cycles

The bald eagles are lifetime monogamous and they mate until one of the companions passes away. They strengthen their relationship with overgenerous engagement displays whereby they fix their feet together while revolving towards the ground. In the air, they swoop at each other as well. The breeding pair produces a solitary clutch comprising one to three eggs per year. It is from the late winter to early spring when the timing of reproductive season happens. The pair incubates the egg taking turns one by one, while one of them hunting the prey makes arrangements for food.

The chicks take about 35 days to emerge from their eggs; at the very moment, they have brownish-gray head and while tail. The juveniles require a considerable time to play with each other, hold objects with their talons for practice and stretch their wings to fly; within 8 to 14 weeks, they become capable of gaining the feathers that are fully developed for flight. To reach full maturity and obtain their mature plumage, the juveniles entail around five years. 

Mating Habits

Mating BehaviorMonogamy
Reproduction SeasonLate winter – early spring
Gestation Period34-36 days
Independent Age4-5.5 months
Baby NameEaglet
Web Animal Clutch Size2 eggs


Bald eagles, gathering in clusters during nesting season, typically lead a self-contained life. They form groups encompassing about 400 birds and converge to locations where they find a considerable amount of prey. When winter starts and strong winds blow, they are somewhat inactive. During the breeding season, they have to protect their territory; thus, they engage in vocalizations and chase other birds of their own species. Their communication includes the usage of weak staccato and chirping whistles – similar to cadence to a gull’s call to some extent. The young, on the flip side, produce more harsh and shrill calls.

Prey and Diet

Bald Eagle prey and diet

The species typically go for hunting alone or in groups. They fly along the streams, wade in the water, grasp fish, and eat immediately and directly. The bald eagle’s diet encompasses waterfowl and small animals as well. It said that this species steals the dinner of osprey. These creatures get fast food every now and then as well – the road kills. Time doesn’t remain the same – these majestic species eat chicks and rats in captive situations. The Bald Eagle’s hunting prowess is reminiscent of the ability of Babirusa to forage for a diverse range of food in its habitat…

Relationship with Humans

Bald eagles are very conscious of human doings in their surroundings. It’s generally instructed to maintain the distance of 330 feet from any nest.  Not only the nests you need to stay away but from individual eagles as well when you find them perching on a tree or standing on the ground. These eagles can’t tolerate human engagement particularly during nesting season; eventually they may abandon their nest. To avoid these sorts of repercussions, you must stay way maintaining the entailed distance.

Predators, Threats and Conservation

The use of chemicals and other human acts like trapping and hunting threatened this royal creature. During the 20th century, they were on the edge of extinction due to the use of chemicals i.e. pesticide which eventually resulted in the infertility of adults and caused a reduction in the thickness of their eggshells.

In a stroke of luck, the pesticide DDT was banned in 1972 and conservationists gave consideration to these species; at present, the IUCN Red List includes the eagles as a species of least concern (LC). Since the ban in 1972, the bald eagles’ population has boasted up. On July 12, 1995, the U.S. government removed the bald eagle from the endangered species list. For more insights about the majestic Bald Eagle, its conservation status and habitat on the National Audubon Society.

The Rundown and Fun Facts

Here is a quick rundown spotlighting the core and striking characteristics in the form of key takeaways. Let’s have a look!

Common NameBald Eagle
Other Name(s)American Eagle
Number of Species 1
Population Size250,000
Lifespan 28 – 36 Years
Weight 3 – 6.3 KG
Length 70 – 102 CM
Wingspan 1.8 – 2.3 M
Top Speed120 KM/H
Predator Wolverines, bobcats, foxes, bears, raccoons, and birds
Prey Fish, birds, and small mammals
Most Distinctive FeatureBald eagles have 20/5 vision, which is much sharper than a human’s
Nesting LocationBald eagles build large nests called “aeries” in tall trees or cliffs
Monogamous pairsThey form monogamous pairs and often mate for life
Symbol They are seen as a symbol of strength, freedom, and resilience
Diving SpeedThey can dive at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour (161 kilometers per hour)


In the wild, bald eagles typically live 20 to 30 years. They have been known to live up to 50 years in captivity, though. The 38-year-old species that was the oldest known to have died in the wild.

While southern populations remain in one place for the majority of the year, northern populations migrate.

The mother produces one to three eggs year, but the majority of the young don’t make it to adulthood.

An eagle’s wingspan typically measures between 70 and 90 inches in length.

Bald eagles can be found all over North America, but they are most common near large bodies of water like estuaries, seacoasts, major lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. When nearby water sources freeze over in the winter, some of these birds travel to warmer regions.

Bald eagles are very large bird, measuring 70 to 102 cm (28 to 40 in) in length and between 1.8 and 2.3 m (5 ft 11 in and 7 ft 7 in) in wingspan. Typically, males are larger than females.

Bald eagles weigh between 6.6 and 13.9 lb and 3 to 6.3 kg. They can now hunt very huge prey, such fish that can weigh up to 3 kg, thanks to this.

The average length of an adult male is 90 cm (36 inches), and their wingspan is 2 metres (6.6 ft). Females can grow up to 108 cm (43 inches) in length and have a wingspan of 2.5 metres (8 feet), growing slightly larger than males.

There aren’t many other birds of prey with such a unique all-white head. The golden eagle is perhaps the species that is closest in terms of overall size and shape.

An opportunistic feeder, bald eagles. They are carnivores and eat more than 400 different species of animals, making up a very diverse diet! They eat primarily fish but will also consume small animals and ducks. They kill their prey before they eat it by piercing crucial organs with their incredibly powerful talons when they pick up their meal. These birds occasionally prey on other birds as well!

Taxonomy, outward appearance, wingspan, distribution, speed, and prey are the main distinctions between both species.

Their size, appearance, wingspan, habitat, diet, and conservation status are the main distinctions between both species.

Mudassar Ahmad

He is a seasoned blogger since 2012 and an M.Phil graduate in English Linguistics. He captivates readers with his eloquent prose and insightful perspectives. His passion for language and dedication to crafting compelling content make him a trusted voice in the online sphere. Explore the world through Ahmad's literary lens.

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