Bald Eagle Facts
- The term of Bald Eagle serves as the common name for an incredibly majestic bird that technically classifies as a sea eagle. This proud and magnificent avian also goes by the very difficult to pronounce scientific name of the Haliaeetus leucocephalus.
- By either name, however, this animal currently remains the only known variety of sea eagle native to its particular portion of the world. Modern science also currently recognizes two known subspecies of this incredible bird still in existence.
- Somewhat ironically, despite its now quite famous name, the breathtaking animal isn’t actually bald at all. This misconception occurs because the name derives from a much older term. That original term actually means white-headed.
- Most fortunately, the population of the stunning Bald Eagle appears to be both sufficient and stable. That condition also appears to hold true throughout the entirety of its natural range. This fortunate situation was not always the case, however.
- In the past, the breathtaking raptor nearly became extinct, before humans implemented protective measures. Thankfully, though, it now holds the status of Least Concern with the IUCN. The creature still faces the threat of climate change, though.
Bald Eagle Physical Description
Most notably, the gorgeous Bald Eagle displays the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. That remains a characteristic shared by many of its related species, though. In its case, however, this trait presents itself as a matter of size.
That holds true due to the fact that the females of the species average about 25% larger than the males. These physically larger females further weigh as much as 14 lb (6.3 kg). In addition to this, exceptional females sometimes even attain a wingspan of 7.5 ft (2.3 m).
The plumage of the creature also continues to be one of its most striking features. This trait presents as a distinctive combination of dark brown on the body, and white on the head and tail. That combination has served to make it one of the most recognizable birds on earth.
The eyes, beak, and feet of the majestic Bald Eagle further show a bright yellow in color. The powerful talons also develop large and razor-sharp, as with most raptors. Not only that, the Bald Eagle possesses the ability to retract its talons at will, but rarely chooses to do so.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Accipitriformes
- Family: Accipitridae
- Genus: Haliaetus
- Species: H. leucocephalus
Bald Eagle Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The range of the Bald Eagle remains extensive in nature. The beautiful creature inhabits most of North America. This extends from northern Mexico, to all of the continental United States. It also inhabits temperate portions of Alaska, and most of the country of Canada.
Fortunately, this particular avian has a decided advantage over some competitors. It quickly proved itself to be highly adaptable to a variety of habitat types. Due to this trait, it can, and often does, live in bayous, deciduous forests, and even the Sonoran Desert.
The beautiful animal additionally holds yet another distinction. It generally prefers to build its large nests in the tops of the tallest trees near a body of water. In fact, the amazing avian holds the distinction of building the largest nest of any bird in its range.
In point of fact, these constructions hold a place in the record books. Its constructions remain the largest arboreal nests of any known animal. These may be as much as 13 ft (4 m) deep, 8.2 ft (2.5 m) wide. Quite amazingly, each can also weigh up to 2,000 lb (907 kg).
Much like related species, the fabulous Bald Eagle evolved to feed entirely as a carnivore. It also feeds opportunistically, consuming a wide variety of prey. The majority of the prey of most individuals, though, remains comprised of numerous types of locally available fish.
The awesome bird remains fascinating for one more reason. Individuals of this species also typically mate for life. When the tiny offspring arrive, both parents care for the young, unlike some birds. Finally, this breathtaking bird can live up to 20 years in the wild.
Species Sharing Its Range