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Eagle Beak: Why Is It So Sharp, What They Use It For And More!

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The eagle beak is a sharp, strong, and powerful hook-like structure that eagles use for tearing flesh.

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Eagles have very sharp beaks as well as strong talons.

Eagles are raptors (birds of prey) that have very large hooked strong beaks which they use for ripping flesh from their prey. Their beaks are heavier than those of most other birds of prey, helping them tear meat apart for food.

Golden eagles, which also belong to the family Accipitridae like all eagles, live in the Northern Hemisphere. The bald eagle, which commonly has two subspecies, is mainly found in North America. The beaks of these two birds are the main distinguishing factor between them. Golden eagles generally have smaller beaks that remain brown for their entire life. But the beaks of white-tailed bald eagles turn from amber to a vibrant yellow color, meaning that bald eagles go through an incredible transformation in their life. This difference in color makes it relatively easy to identify the species.

There are almost 60 species of eagles all around the world. Among these, most are seen in Eurasia and Africa, and the remaining 14 species are found in other areas. They always vary in size according to their species. The smallest species is around 17.7-21.7 in (45-55 cm) in size and the largest species is around 7.2-7.9 ft (2.2-2.4 m). Eagles have large eyes which makes for an unbeatable sense of vision for them. Their eyes can weigh as much as a human eye and they have eight times sharper eyesight than humans. They can sense the basic colors and can also identify UV light.

You should never fight with an eagle, as there is no chance that you will win. They have a grip that is about 10 times stronger than that of humans. Humans have to think about their grip but eagles don't even need to think about it and they can easily lift up to 5 lb (2.3 kg).

Some facts about eagles might surprise you. Firstly, the bald eagle is not really bald! They have white feathers on their head and tail. So the name can seem a little confusing!. They are called 'bald' because the word comes from the English word 'piebald' which means 'white-headed'.

If you enjoy this article, why not read about the bald eagle vs golden eagle or discover how high can an eagle fly here on Kidadl?

What is the name for the beak of an eagle?

Eagles are raptor birds that have very sharp beaks as well as talons which they use to grab their prey. They have very strong beaks but they rarely carry their food with these beaks over long distances.

The upper part of the beak is named the maxilla while the lower part of the beak is called the mandible. Like all other beings, the tongue is the organ that allows an eagle to taste. An eagle also has a chin below its beak. Carnivorous birds have hook-like beaks with the upper part protruding over the lower part.

The bald eagle is unmistakable in its native area. It has a large and hooked beak with a yellow cere. Eagles, owls, and hawks usually have long curved, hooked beaks which they use to rip open the flesh of their prey. The popular pet bird, the parrot, also has a hooked beak, which is perfect to crack nuts and peel off the tough skin of fruits.

Are eagle beaks sharp?

Unlike other birds, eagles' beaks do not adapt in shape due to adaptations required for their feeding habitat but they do differ in size. Every species of eagles has almost the same shape beak and the beak of an eagle is made of keratin.

Eagles have sharp hook-like beaks which they use to cut flesh. They can even kill animals with their beak. This beak is so sharp that it can kill an animal with a single bite as the sharp beak penetrates deep into the animal's body. It is difficult for eagles to carry fish or any other animals with their beak as they might break into two due to the sharpness. Most eagles do not consider humans as prey. They can attack human beings, but they never eat them. Crowned eagles are the only category of living birds that regard humans as prey. Male eagles generally have a weight of 10 lb (4.5 kg) while females are closer to 20 lb (9.1 kg) and their talons are 3-4 in (7.6-10.2 cm) long. They also have a grip of 530 psi (36.5 bar).

Why do eagles need a sharp beak?

Eagles have strong and powerful beaks which serve many functions.

This strength mainly helps them to hunt. They can grab the target animal with their sharp and pointed beaks, but eagles do not carry their food for long distances with their beak. Eagles can't survive without their beak as they do most of their hunting and other tasks with these beaks. They use it for catching food, building nests, and also preening.

Eagles do not catch fish with their beak because it would be too hard to pull fish up from the water and there is a chance that the bird might crash into the water. It is easier for eagles to fly with a much faster speed, holding the prey in their feet rather than in their beak. Ospreys usually have spiny scales on their feet for grip but their claws are stronger and sharper even without these spicules.

Eagles have strong beaks which are made out of keratin.

Can an eagle break their beak?

The beaks and talons of an eagle are made out of keratin, which is the same as in a human nail. In captivity, the beaks and talons of eagles are trimmed regularly to ensure the health of the bird.

By the age of 30 or so, the eagle reaches a bad physical condition to the point where survival is difficult. Their beaks might become dreary and bend and their talons may also lose their flexibility which will make them unable to catch the target animal. The feathers in their wings will grow thicker and will make flight difficult. At this age, the eagle generally flies to a mountain top and sits on its nest. It then bangs its beak against a rock until it is plucked out. It also takes out its talons and feathers. The bird then will wait for the regrowth of these parts, enabling it to live for the next 30 years.

In a fight between golden eagle vs bald eagle birds, golden eagles would definitely win as they are masters in a fight. They are more agile, determined, and have stronger feet than bald eagles. Golden eagles even dive in from the direction of the sun in order to blind their opponent. These cunning and intelligent birds can implement great tactics to cut off their prey's escape. They can move at a speed of 120 mph (193.1 kph) while hunting and they are considered among the strongest and most powerful birds. They are an enormous bird of prey species in North America.

What purpose does their beak serve?

The eagle's beak is sharp, strong, and very powerful. Their beaks are heavier than any other bird's and they also have strong talons that they use to hunt.

Eagles mainly use their beak to bite at the base of the skull or on the neck to kill their prey. They can use it to pick up fish from the water (but not commonly) and to easily tear the flesh of their prey. They can also use it for critical tasks like building nests, preening, and catching food. Eagles can survive without food for many weeks but can never survive without their beaks. Sometimes they carry food with these beaks and these birds also have keen eyesight which enables them to spot their target even from a long distance. Bald eagles are represented in flags and have even helped armies in battle.

Conserving Eagles

Eagles sit at the top of the food chain, so they are an important part of the animal kingdom. The bird eats dead animal matter and helps with nature's clean-up process. They kill weak and slower animals leaving the healthiest to survive. Eagles are also hunters so they keep the animal population in nature in check. It is important to conserve these birds.

If you notice any disturbance caused to an eagle nest by an individual or any other group, the first thing you should do is to report it to your local state wildlife agency. You should keep a good distance from their nest habitat in order not to disturb the birds.

It is illegal for any individual to pick a feather of a golden or bald eagle. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act which was passed in 1940 restricts anyone without a federal permit from taking and keeping eagle parts (including feathers, egg, and shells). If you find any eagle parts in nature, you can photograph and study these, but you have to leave them where you found them and cannot take them into your own possession. The possession of these parts by anyone unauthorized can be fined up to $200,000! The law also gives exemptions though, as it allows members of federally recognized groups to have access to their own eagle feathers.

Did You Know...

Beauty, a bald eagle was once attacked by a poacher who shot at the eagle's beak and left the bird for death. The poacher's bullet almost destroyed her upper lip and it made her unable to eat or drink. Beauty was then rescued by Janie Veltkamp who was a certified wildlife rehabber and raptor biologist. Beauty was able to continue her life after Janie invented a 3-D-printed prosthetic beak for her.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friends facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for eagle beak then why not take a look at harpy eagle size or bald eagle facts.

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Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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