Different Types Of Eagles In The USA: Everything You Need To Know

Sridevi Tolety
Oct 05, 2022 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Feb 11, 2022
Edited by Aubree Mosby
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
The bald eagle is the United States of America's national bird.

The nation of America is one of the world's vastest countries.

The United States of America is spread out into 50 different states. Each state in the nation covers a different type of climate and geography.

The nation of America is home to topography ranging from freezing snowcapped mountain peaks to scorching barren desert lands. With diverse topographies and climatic conditions come equally diverse flora and fauna populations.

We can see different cacti and palm trees growing in the hotter and drier states, and acres of fir and pine trees in the colder, rocky states.

The fauna in the American wilderness range from arctic fox and reindeer to bobcats and rattlesnakes to dolphins and whales to ducks and eagles.

While each proud state has a cherished animal representing it, the majestic bald eagle takes the crown as a national symbol and representation. In the article below, you will learn about the different types of eagles native to the nation of the USA, as well as everything you need to know about these mighty birds.

Fun Facts About Eagles In The USA

The bald eagle symbolizes strength, courage, and freedom, which is why the bird was chosen as thg national symbol of the USA. The golden eagle, on the other hand, is a national symbol to many countries, including Mexico, Germany, and Scotland.

Though the bald eagle has been a national symbol for over two centuries, the bald eagle population declined to the point of near extinction in the late 20th century. Conservative measures have been taken ever since to protect national pride.

Since these measures were taken, the population numbers have improved to six-digit figures. The bald eagle can only be seen in North America and nowhere else.

Different Eagle Species In The USA

There are multiple eagle species, as there are nearly 60 species of eagles found on the planet, most of which are native to Europe and Asia. There are nine species of eagles native to Central and South America, three to Australia, and only two belonging to North America.

The only two species of eagles found in the vast nation of the USA are the bald eagle and the golden eagle. Bald eagles are found throughout the North American continent.

This mighty national bird of prey finds its prey among the aquatic creatures, and are mostly found near bodies of water or along the coastal regions. Bald eagles are found near coastal states almost all year round.

While the national bird is sighted in the colder, northern regions of the nation during the summer months, you can spot them in southern states during the winter. Adult bald eagles have a dark brown body with a white head and tail and yellow-colored beak and claws.

Golden eagles are another species of magnificent birds of prey. Golden eagles can also be spotted all over the continent of North America, but are most commonly found in the mountain terrains of western regions.

While bald eagles eat fish and other aquatic animals, golden eagles prefer eating mammals as food. Their diet ranges from squirrels to young goats. Golden eagles have a brown body with golden feathers along their neck, giving them their name.

While bald eagles and golden eagles are the only native eagle species of the nation, the faraway state of Alaska receives a couple of other types as migratory visitors. One such eagle is the Steller's sea eagle.

The Steller's sea eagle, true to its name, only eats seafood like fish, squid, and crab, as well as smaller birds like gulls and sea ducks found in the blues. The Steller's sea eagle has a dark brown body, milky white wings and tail, and bright yellow beak and feet.

These sea eagles have the largest beak among all types of eagles. The white-tailed eagle is another type of bird of prey that rarely visits the Alaskan coasts.

The white-tailed eagle, liek sea eagles, prefers eating waterfowl and fish. As the name suggests, these birds have a white tail with a brown body.

How long do bald eagles live?

Eagles are some of the largest flying birds on the planet. As with their size, their lifespan is also extended compared to smaller birds. While these birds live a naturally longer life, they are also a fiercely competitive species, which results in the deaths of many birds before they fully grow into an adult.

A bald eagle can live up to 20-25 years in the wild. If a bald eagle is carefully bread in captivity, it can even live to the age of 40 and above.

A golden eagle also has a lifespan of up to 30 years of age. The Steller's sea eagle and white-tailed eagle also have an average lifespan of 20-25 years in the wild.

Like humans, eagles also grow up in different stages. The young eagles hatch out of their eggs a little over a month (35 days) after they have been laid.

Both bald eagles and golden eagles take four to five years to mature into adult birds, like most other eagle species. Young bald eagles look like golden eagles since they lack the development of their signature white head and tail before the age of four to five.

A way of telling a golden eagle and an immature bald eagle apart is by checking their feet. Immature bald eagles have naked feet, while golden eagles' feet are covered in feathers all the way to their talons.

The Biggest Eagle In The USA

Eagles are big birds. They have big enough claws to hold prey, like baby monkeys or baby goats, and fly high to their nests.

Eagles also have wide wings that help them soar high in the skies. While all eagles are huge, there are relative differences in sizes among two different species. Let us find out which species of these mighty birds native to the USA are the biggest.

Bald eagles and golden eagles are similar in size and weight. They both weigh around 6.5-15 lb (3-7 kg) and have an average wingspan of 6-7.5 ft (1.8-2.3 m).

Therefore, it is hard to decide the biggest eagle from amongst the two native species of eagles.

On the other hand, Steller's sea eagles that visit the coasts of Alaska are considered one of the heaviest eagle species on Earth, weighing up to 10.5-21 lb (5-9.5 kg).

White-tailed eagles can also be considered as heavy birds, as they measures similar readings to that of the Steller's sea eagle. Both of these eagles also have huge wingspans of 6.5 - 8 ft (2-2.5 m) that make them bigger than the two native types of eagles.

The Most Dangerous Eagle In The USA

All eagles are predators. They are termed 'birds of prey' since they feed on the flesh and meat of animals. They can also be called raptors.

Bald eagles attack and feed on fish, other birds, and a few mammals. Golden eagles attack game like rabbits or snakes, but are capable of making young livestock and wild animals like goats, sheep, and deer their meal too. Bald eagles, alongside golden eagles, are the most dangerous eagles in the USA. 

Migratory sea eagles also only feed on prey at sea. The competitiveness in these birds for food or territory leads them to attack other eagles, within and outside their species as well.

There are more powerful eagle species in the world, too, like the Harpy eagle species with the largest talons, or the strongest, the crowned eagle species. However, eagles attacking a human is a rare occurrence.

They might only attack during their mating season when they feel territorial, so it's best to keep a safe distance from the majestic birds and their wonderfully built nests.

Even if eagles attack, their attacks haven't been recorded as fatal. In conclusion, while these birds can be terrifying predators to their prey, they aren't really dangerous to people unless disturbed.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Shruti Thapa picture

Shruti ThapaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

With a passion for American, British, and children's literature, Shruti is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Garden City University, Bengaluru. Her fluency in Nepali, Hindi, and Mandarin demonstrates her linguistic abilities and global perspective. In addition to her literary pursuits, she has a keen interest in non-fiction literature, aesthetics, early childhood education, and Egyptian history. Shruti's research paper 'Bringing Art Illustrations In Education And Pop Culture' showcases her proficiency in these areas and her dedication to academic excellence.

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