Characteristics of the Different Raptor Families
- Large bodied raptors, mostly dark brown in color with long, broad wings, and fan-shaped
- Have large, strong feet and a powerful beak.
- Often spotted soaring high and gliding.
- Two species widespread throughout North America, the bald eagle and the golden eagle.
- The bald eagle has been America’s national symbol since 1782; the bald eagle is unique to
- The average wingspan of an eagle can vary from six to seven feet.
- The adult bald eagle appears very different from immature eagles, it has a distinctive white
head and white tail and a bright yellow beak. These distinguishing bald eagle features do
not start to appear until after the fourth year molt and may take 7-10 years to achieve full
- Bald eagles usually live near water (oceans, rivers, lakes), while golden eagles live in open,
- Eagles nests are very large, measuring up to six feet wide and weighing 100 pounds; many
nests are used repeatedly year to year.
- Eagles may roost singly or in groups exceeding 100 birds.
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Bald Eagle - USFWS photo
Immature Golden Eagle - USGS - M. Kochert