Eagles are large birds of prey. They belong to the Accipitridae family and they also belong to several genera, which are not really closely related to each other. Eagles have long been considered to be the “kings” of birds, which is largely due to their strength, agility, natural ferocity and elevation of flight. Take a look below for 28 more fun and interesting facts about eagles.
1. There are more than 60 different eagle species.
2. Most eagle species are from Eurasia or Africa. The rest are from North America, Central and South America, and Australia.
3. Eagles live between 14 and 35 years in the wild, depending on the species.
4. They have a heavy head and a sharp beak, which makes them perfect birds of prey.
5. The smallest eagle species is the South Nicobar serpent eagle, Spilornis klossi. It weighs 450 grams, or 0.99 pounds, and is 40 centimeters, or 16 inches, in height.
6. The largest eagle species is the Philippine eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi, in terms of length and wing surface. The Steller’s sea eagle and the harpy eagle are bigger in terms of weight and bulk.
7. The female eagle, no matter the species, is always larger than the male.
8. They’re diurnal, which means that they are the most active during the day and sleep at night.
9. Eagles are usually solitary creatures, but sometimes they’re found in pairs. During the winter, adult eagles can be found in groups during times of extreme weather or abundant food supplies.
10. They have adapted very well to the lifestyle of a predatory bird.
11. Similar to prehistoric raptors, they kill their prey with their talons.
12. An eagle’s eyesight is one of the best in the animal kingdom. Their eyesight is 4 to 8 times better than that of an average human. Researchers have noted that eagles are able to spot a rabbit 3.2 kilometers, or 2 miles, away.
13. An eagles eyes don’t really move in their eye socket, but eagles can rotate their head about 270 degrees, like an owl, when they need to look around.
14. Their clear eyelids protect their eyes from dust and dirt.
15. Some eagle species have short wings and long tails, which enable them to hunt in forests. Others have short tails and broad long wings that allow them to soar above open plains and water.
16. Some eagle species are known for flying hundreds of kilometers while foraging for their food.
17. They’re carnivores, which means that they only eat meat. They’re active hunters that prey on fish, rabbits, marmots, hares, ground squirrels, mice, slow flying birds, reptiles, martens, foxes and even deer.
18. Eagles don’t need to eat every day. This is because they have a special digestive organ called a “crop” that allows them to store food until there’s more room in the stomach.
19. The crop allows the eagle to store a large meal for later, which prevents it from growing weak once food is scarce for a week or two.
20. Eagles build their nests, called “eyries,” in tall trees and high cliffs.
21. Male and female eagles build the nest together. They will both work in bringing sticks to add to the nest structure. The building of the nest is thought to be a bonding moment between the two sexes.
22. Most eagle species lay 1 to 3 eggs.
23. Both male and female eagles incubate the eggs, however, the female spends more time in the nest. It takes about 35 days on average for an eagle egg to hatch.
24. A young eagle is called an “eaglet.” The older and larger chick will usually kill its younger siblings once it has hatched.
25. Eagles are sometimes divided into four groups; sea eagles, or fish eagles, booted eagles, snake or serpent eagles and harpy eagles, or giant forest eagles. Sea eagles primarily eat fish, either fresh or as carrion. Booted eagles have feathers that grow down their legs and cover their toes. Snake eagles primarily hunt reptiles. Harpy eagles are usually the biggest eagles and usually live in tropical forests.
26. Golden eagles can reach maximum flight speed of 320 kilometers, or 200 miles, per hour.
27. The bald eagle can carry the heaviest load from any other eagle species. They’ve been noted to carry up to 6.8 kilograms, or 15 pounds, with their talons while flying at full speed.
28. In some religions around the world, high soaring eagles are believed to touch the face of God.