Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Conservation Status: Least Concern


  • The bald eagle is 30-31 inches in length with a wingspan of 6-7 feet.
  • They have a dark brown body, white tail, and white head and shoulders.
  • They have bright yellow eyes.
  • Large, hooked yellow bill.
  • Powerful legs and talons.
  • Bald eagles can be identified by their wings. They soar with their wings almost flat.
  • Females are larger than males. On average males weigh 25% less than females.

Lifespan: Typically, in the wild between 20 to 30 years. Some eagles in captivity have lived up to 50 years.

Range and Habitat:

  • Unique to North America.
  • Coasts, rivers, large lakes.
  • In migration, also mountains and open country.

Bald Eagle Range


  • They are opportunistic. Sometimes they are a predator and other times a scavenger.
  • Mostly eats fish when available.
  • Also eats birds and mammals.


  • Bald eagles emit a high-pitched giggle or weak scream.
  • They are monogamous and mate for life.
  • Male and female eagles work on nest building together. This time together helps them cement their lifelong bond. If the nest works well, they will continue to use it year after year.

Fun Facts:

  • Their nests on average are 2-4 feet deep and 4-5 feet wide.
  • While on a hunt for prey, eagles can dive up to 100 miles per hour. In regular flight they can travel about 30 miles per hour.
  • Young bald eagles aren’t bald. For the first four or five years of their lives they have mostly brown heads. They move through a complicated series of different plumage patters. In the second year, they have white bellies.
  • They have see-through eyelids called nictitating membrane. They can close this membrane to protect their eyes while their main eyelids are open. They can also see ultra-violet light.
  • While flying, bald eagles will sometimes grab each other’s feet and spin while plummeting to earth. Usually they separate before hitting the ground. But sometimes they don’t let go.

Keeper Notes:

Walter was born on February 14, 2017. Walter came to the zoo after being rendered flightless from an accident with a vehicle. Walter enjoys spending time hanging out with the white-tailed deer (AKA “Golden Girls”), geese, and cranes.