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    What Do Eagles Eat/What Do Bald Eagles Eat/What Do Golden Eagles Eat/What Do Harpy Eagles Eat/How Do Eagles Kill Their Prey/Eagles can live 20 to 30.

     What Do Eagles Eat

    What Do Eagles Eat

    Eagles eat mainly mammals, other birds or reptiles. Eagles also eat carrion. They like to eat rats, hares, squirrel, moles, raccoons and also hunt dogs and cats. Eagles also eat fish such as salmon, trout, mullet, catfish etc. Eagles eat turtles, snakes, amphibian, seals etc. Sea gull, owls, hawks, ducks, geese, parrots, macaws and many other birds are in eagle’s prey list. Eagles are carnivore opportunistic bird, means they feed on what is most available. When there is a shortage of food, the eagles steal food or the leftover food and carrion from other predators to eat. Eagles are considered top predators.

    Size of Eagles

    Golden Eagle

    Harpy Eagle/ About American and Papuan Harpy Eagle

    What Do Bald Eagles Eat?

    What Do Eagles Eat

    The bald eagle is found in North America, along the coastlines of fresh water and marine water ways. It has blackish-brown body but solid white head. The bald eagle derives its name for its white head which is not bald but covered with white feathers.

    Bald eagle is an opportunistic carnivore, means, they feed on what is most available. They consume a great variety of prey and also steal food from other eagles or from fish eating bird. The bald eagles eat ducks and geese that have been injured by hunters. Though fish often made up bulk of the aggregate diet, about 56% of the nesting eagles. The hunting spectrum of the bald eagle includes over 400 species  Fish make up 66% of a bald eagle's diet in a year. At least 100 species of fish have been recorded in the diet of bald eagles. In the Pacific Northwest, trouts and salmon are the main food from late summer throughout fall. Southeast Alaskan bald eagles most hunt pink salmon, Coho salmon, sockeye salmon and also Chinook salmon. The bald eagles also eat Pacific sand lance, Pacific herring and eulachon which are found in the estuaries and shallow coastlines of southern Alaska. In Oregon’s Columbia River Estuaries, their most important prey are American shad, common carp and large-scale suckers. The bald eagles live in the Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in the United State, where the eagles hunt American gizzard shad, threadfin shad and white bass. Floridian bald eagles depend on catfish, mullet, trout, eels, brown bullhead etc.

     Generally, bald eagles target quite large prey. Each day a bald eagle consume 489g of fish or 219 to 365 pounds of food in a year. The average weight of an eagle is considered 10 pounds. How much food the bald eagles eat in a year, depending on how much energy an eagle requires. Some factors affect their diet such as the size, their activities, season and the energy value of the food. The eagles in smaller size and lower body weight need less food than a bigger size of eagle.

    The bald eagles not only eat fish but they also hunt water birds. About 200 species of birds are recorded includes ducks, gulls, coots, alcids, herons, geese, egrets, grebes etc. Bald eagles prefer to hunt the medium-sized birds such as mallards, American coots, western grebes, because these birds are easy to catch and fly with. The bald eagles living around the Lake Superior, their favourite prey is American gull. The bald eagles occasionally hunt larger water-birds like emperor geese, snow geese, common loons, great black-backed gulls, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, Canada geese, brown pelicans, white pelicans and other birds in larger groups.

    Bald eagles also eat sea-bird’s eggs and babies. They also hunt other birds of prey for food such as western screech owls, snowy owls, black vulture, sea hawk, river hawk, turkey vulture, northern goshawk, peregrine falcons etc.

    The bald eagles prey item include mammalian like rabbit, raccoons, hares, rabbit, squirrel, muskrats, beavers, deer, nine-banded armadillo, red and Arctic fox, striped skunks, opossums, bobcat etc. They also target the new-born, sick, injured and also dead mammals. The bald eagles are considered the main natural predators of raccoons.

    On Protection Island, Washington, the bald eagles generally depend on harbour seal. In landlocked areas of North America, the bald eagles hunt prairie dogs and jackrabbits also.

     In warm areas such as Florida, the bald eagles regularly hunt reptiles include turtles. They also eat amphibians, crayfish, crabs and other crustaceans.

    In winter season, when fish get hard, the bald eagles steal fish from other predators such as herons, ospreys, otters even peregrine falcons, ferruginous hawks and also golden eagles. The bald eagles often attack dogs, gulls or vultures to get their food or scavenge on carrion. Healthy adult bald eagles are not hunted in the wild and thus are considered top predators.

    What Do Golden Eagles Eat?

    What Do Eagles Eat

    Golden eagle is one of the largest birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere and also the National bird of Mexico. The golden eagle is very swift and their diving speed is over 150 miles per hour. They use their speed, powerful feet and sharp talons to snatch up prey like rabbit, marmots, squirrels, hares. The golden eagle usually hunt during daytime but they also hunt one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Golden eagles prefer to hunt any animals of a reasonable size. About 400 species of vertebrates are their prey. They use their speed, powerful feet and sharp talons to snatch up prey like rabbit, marmots, squirrels, hares. They also eat dogs. The golden eagles eat 12 species of Canid (dog family) and make up 2.8% of golden eagle’s diet. The golden eagles prefer to hunt foxes including adult red foxes which are heavier than the golden eagle. The golden eagles rarely hunt cats. They hunt and eat both domestic cats and wild cats and also bobcat. A handful of accounts from North America and Scandinavia describe that golden eagles hunting and flying off with small cubs of American black bear and brown bear and also reported that the pups of spotted seals and harbor seals have been hunted. Golden eagles also eat other mammals like moles, raccoons, pikas, kangaroo rats etc. but these prey items comprise less than 1% of nest. Golden eagle also attack other birds and more than 200 bird species have been identified at the golden eagle’s nest. Golden eagles eat rock pigeons, Canada goose, magpies, crow, raven, rooks, Eurasian jay, water fowl, swans, ducks, pigeons, geese, herons, cranes, cormorants, loons, auks etc. They rarely hunt larks, woodpeckers, cuckoos, shrikes, finches and many other small species of birds.

    Golden eagles eat snakes and other reptiles, make up 29% of their diet. Generally they hunt and eat colubrid snakes or harmless snakes but occasionally venomous species like prairie rattlesnake, vipera berus etc. are hunted and eaten by golden eagles.

    In some regions, tortoises are the main prey in their diet. After catching the tortoise, the golden eagle fly up to at least 20m above the rocky ground and then release the tortoise on to the rocks so that it’s hard shell is broken.

     The golden eagles that live in hotter, drier place, regularly hunt and eat lizards. The large lizards such as monitor lizard contribute most to the golden eagle’s diet. In Europe, ocellated lizard is the most important lizard prey of golden eagle. In Northern Africa, spiny-tailed lizards are most important prey for golden eagle. The golden eagles that live in the French Pyrenees and the West-Central Highlands of Scotland, eat amphibians, especially Rana frogs. Golden eagles also eat fish. According two largest reports from coastal California and the Porcupine River in Alaska, fish make up 3.6% of the golden eagle’s diet. They specially eat trout, salmon, suckers, sacramento perch, northern pike. In winter month, the golden eagles largely depend on carrion. Every day they need 250g of food. When there is scarcity of food, golden eagles attack owls, hawks, falcons and wolverines and any other birds of prey and forcefully snatch their food or their leftover carrion.

    What Do Harpy Eagles Eat?

    What Do Eagles Eat

    Harpy eagle is at the top of the food chain. Harpy eagle’s main prey are sloths and monkeys. They prefer to hunt and eat capuchin monkey, howler monkeys, tit monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys etc. but they ignore the smaller species of monkeys such as tamarins and marmosets. Harpy eagles also eat squirrels, opossums, porcupine, armadillos, anteaters, tayras, coatis, and agouti.

    Harpy eagles eat bird species such as macaws, specially red and green macaws, parrots, curassows, seriemas etc. Harpy eagles prefer to eat reptiles such as snakes, iguanas, tegus etc.

    Harpy eagles rarely hunt domestic livestock such as lambs, goats, chickens or pigs but this is extremely rare under normal circumstances. Their large talons which are the largest of any other living eagle, help them to lift prey up to equal their own body weight. Male harpy eagles hunt smaller prey, range of 0.5 to 2.5kg but the larger female harpy eagles regularly hunt large prey such as male howler, spider monkey, adult sloths. Without landing, female harpy eagle can fly with the larger prey that weighing between 6 and 9kg. Male harpy eagle can bring an average of 3kg of prey to their nest while female harpy eagle bring 3.2kg because female harpy eagle is almost double in size than male.

    It dives down onto its prey with the speed of 50 miles per hour and snatches it with outstretched feet. The bird sits quietly for 23 hours on a tree or on a top place and waiting patiently to catch the prey. Harpy eagles can turn their head upside down to get a better look at their potential food. It has great vision that helps it to see anything less than 1 inch in size from about 220 yards away. Their sharp, powerful, deadly talons can exert more than 110 pounds (50 kg) of pressure to crush the bones of its prey and instantly kill its victim.

    How Do Eagles Kill Their Prey?

    What Do Eagles Eat

    Eagles are large, strong birds of prey, with heavy heads and sharp hooked beaks. Their strong, muscular legs, and powerful talons and sharp beaks help them to catch the prey and rip flesh from their prey. Eagle’s eyeball is very large, almost the same size as a human eye. They can use the eyes independently or together depending on what they are seeing. Although eagles mainly hunt during the day but it has been recorded that they eat food at night and even bring food to the nest.

    Eagle has four sharp talons each of their foot, three talons are in front facing and one larger talon, called the “hallux” in the back facing forward each of their foot. The bald eagle swoops down over the water and drop its feet in the water and snatches the fish out of the water with its talons and then holds the prey in one claw and tear the flesh with other claw. Their talons are curved and razor-sharp that help them to catch and hold their prey. The eagles can fly with a 6.8kg male deer fawn with their powerful talons. This feat holds the record for the verification for flying birds.

    The powerful legs muscles provide the crushing strength of each talon is at least 400 pounds per square.

     Since food is not always available so when food is abundant, the eagle can gorge on food and store up to 2 pound of food in a pouch in the throat called “crop”, that help them to survive for several days without food.

    The young nestlings can eat meat from the first day and are fed 1-8 times a day. The parents tear off bits of prey and feed them directly, bill to bill, until the eaglets are five to six weeks old.

    The Eagles can live 20 to 30 years in the wild.


    Due to habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shootings, and contamination of its food source, the use of the insecticide DDT, the eagle population decreased. Now the bald eagle, America’s national symbol is protected under the Endangered Species Act in the 1970s. The harpy eagle is at risk due to habitat loss from development, habitat and agriculture. It is currently listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN. The number of golden Eagles was decreased but now its habitat are protected under the Endangered Species Act of Ontario.

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