Here are all the amazing bald eagle facts for kids including bald eagle habitat, diet, reproduction and its behavior. The bald eagle (Haliaeetu leucocephalus) is a large bird of prey that is endemic to North America.
The bald eagle is also symbolized as the national bird of United States. These types of eagles inhabit all throughout the Alaska, Canada, northern Mexico, and contiguous America.
These birds are often found near open waters where there is abundant of food. Bald eagles prefer to live in places that are dominated by tall trees so as to build their nests high above the ground.
The bald eagles feed on medium-sized as well as small mammals, with special preference to fish which is the primary bald eagles diet. They do so by swooping down and grabbing them out of the water with their powerful talons.
Of all the North American birds, bald eagles build the largest nest that measures around 4 meters (13 feet) in depth; width of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), and weighs around 1 metric ton (1.1 tons).
These birds of prey are Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In the past, bald eagles have long been hunted for sports and for the protection of fishing grounds.
Some of the pesticides were also responsible for the population decline; however, these eagles are not endangered species as the population is beginning to recover.
They are commonly found in Canada and Alaska. They are best known for snatching their prey from other animals and scavenging carrion. Bald eagles are monogamous birds as they mate for life. Let’s take a good look at these facts about bald eagles for kids.
Bald Eagle Facts For Kids
- The bald eagle males and females are almost same in coloration but females being 25% larger in comparison to the males.
- These birds have bright yellow beak, irides, and feet. There are no feathers on their legs and they have short and powerful talons. The eagles have relatively long tail. With the help of its large sharp beak and talons they do not allow their prey to move.
- The bald eagles have larger beaks than the golden eagles.
- The length of the bald eagle measures around 70 – 102 cm (28 – 40 inches).
- The wingspan measures at 1.8 – 2.3 meters (5.9 – 7.5 feet), with the weight measuring at 3 – 6.3 kg (6.6 – 14 lb).
- The weight of the females is around 5.8 kg (13 lb), with the males weigh around 4.1 kg (9.0 lb).
- The smallest bald eagles are normally found in Florida averaging at 2.3 kg (5.1 lb), with a wingspan of 1.68 meters (5.5 feet).
- The largest specimen is known to exist in Alaska where females weigh around 7.5 kg (17 lb), with a wingspan measuring at 2.44 meters (8.0 feet). According to a standard linear measurements, the wing chord measures at 51.5 – 69 cm (20.3 – 27 inches), with the tail measuring up to 23 – 37 cm (9.1 – 15 inches) in length, while the tarsus measures at 8 – 11 cm (3.1 – 4.3 inches)
- The measurement of culmen ranges from 3 – 7.5 cm (1.2 – 3.0 inches), and the measurement from the gape to the tip of the bill is around 7 – 9 cm (2.8 – 3.5 inches).
- The call consists of weak chirping whistles, harsher and more shrill from young birds than adults.
- The bald eagles are capable to reach a speed of 56 – 70 km/h (35 – 43 mph) while gliding and flapping. When it comes to snatching fish over the water surface the speed is 48 km/h (30 mph). The diving speed of bald eagle is 120 – 160 km/h (75 – 99 mph). Bald eagles are rarely known to dive vertically.
- Depending entirely on the location, bald eagles are partially migratory birds. They can stay at the same place all year around where there is access to open water. These birds seldom migrate but when they do so it happens in daytime.
Distribution and Habitat
- The bald eagles inhabit along the large lakes, near seacoasts, oceans, places where water and fish are abundant and open water.
- These birds of prey fancy their living in lakes having 10 sq. km (4 sq. miles) since these are optimal for breeding.
- They build their nests in large mature trees mostly hardwood and coniferous trees which are also required for roosting and perching.
- The height of the trees is not only required for nesting but it also fulfills the need of good visibility from the height. Having said all this, the high trees must not be chosen at the cost of lesser availability of food.
- The bald eagles are always seen to make their habitats in trees that are in close proximity to the waters.
- The bald eagles employ forests that are roofed with no more than 60 percent and no less than 20 percent.
- They do not like to live in populated regions that are dominated by the human which is why eagles pick out the nesting site some 1.2 km (0.75 miles) apart from the low-density human population and more than 1.8 km (1.1 miles) from high-density human population.
- The bald eagles are found across Canada, northern Mexico, continental United States, as they are native to North America.
- The bald eagle habitats exist in the Sonoran Desert, Quebec, Louisiana, and New England.
- Eagles dwelling in the northern region often migrate while southern birds of prey are the permanent residents. Some of these species are limited to Aleutian Islands, Eastern and northern Canada, Florida, and Alaska.
- They are known to congregate in few sites especially in winter. One of the largest gatherings is found in winter in the Squamish British Columbia, up to 1,000 – 2,000 birds.
- The bald eagles inhabit near the Cheakamus and Squamush Rivers as salmons are widely available in these waters.
Feeding Ecology and Diet
- Bald eagles are carnivorous and are considered to be opportunistic feeders. These birds of prey primarily preys on fish especially those living in the Pacific Northwest more often feeds on salmon and trout.
- In the cold days of winter, bald eagles rely on carrion. They are known to prey on wide variety of mammals such as hares, muskrats, deer fawns, rabbits, beavers, and raccoons.
- Bald eagles also feed on avian species including coots, egrets, alcids, grebes, ducks, gulls, and geese. They are occasionally come into direct conflict with great horned owls.
- They also consume different insects, reptiles, amphibians, crabs, swans, and young ungulates. The gripping force of bald eagle is about ten times the force of humans.
- They are proficient enough to fly with a fish that is equal to their own body weight; however when the fish is too heavy to lift they just drag it over the water surface drops it on land for eating.
- Bald eagles often dominate over other mammals such as foxes and coyotes including birds such as vultures, gulls, corvids, and raptors.
Did You Know…???
How many bald eagles are there in the world?
- Currently there are more than 5,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles.
- According to a rough estimate there were around 300,000 to 500,000 bald eagles in the mid-18th century however in the mid-20th century we had hardly more than 400 eagles left in the wild.
- Thanks to the conservation societies who made all the hard work, bald eagles have recovered their numbers (in North America) in the last 40 years or so.
- There is 72.2% increase in bald eagles’ population after every 10 years.
What does the bald eagle eat?
Bald eagles are most likely to feed on fish which makes up 56% of the eagle’s diet.
- Bald eagles reach the maturity age after 4 – 5 years. These types of eagles mate for life.
- If one of the partners dies the other partner will choose another. The average lifespan of bald eagles is about 28 years in the wild.
- The size of these birds is equivalent to a 6 ft 2 meters man. The largest bald eagle nest ever recorded was measured at 9.5 ft (3 meters) in width, with the height measuring at 20 ft (6 meters).
- The weight of this nest was up to 2 tons. Normally, the bald eagle’s nest weighed around 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons), depth averaging at 4 meters (13 ft), measuring at 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) across.
- The female lays 1 – 3 eggs each year which are incubated by both males and females.
- The length of these eggs measure around 73 mm (2.9 inches), along with the breadth of 55 mm (2.2 inches). The average lifespan in captivity is up to 50 years.