STATUS IN THE WILD: Least Concern
RANGE: North America, Europe, Asia, and Russia
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
Golden eagles are one of the largest birds in North America with a wingspan around six or seven feet. During flight they have broad, long wings and a long, wide tail compared to their small round head. Adult golden eagles are dark brown with a golden sheen on the back of the head and neck. Golden eagles are among some of the few raptors to have feathers all the way to the toes. Juveniles will have white patches at the base of the tail and in the wings.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
They typically soar with wings lifted into a slight “V” and the feathers at the wing tip spread to resemble fingers. This species can hunt prey from the air or from a perch, before diving down and quickly grabbing it with their talons. They have been clocked at close to 200 miles per hour.
Golden eagles are mostly solitary and come together during breeding season or form pairs for life. During courtship the pair will circle high in the air and make shallow dives towards each other. Nests are built by the male and female on cliff ledges or in large trees and can take up to three months to build. Most commonly two eggs are laid with the odds of one making it to adulthood. Both parents will help with incubation and hunting. The offspring will learn to fly and hunt around two or three months of age.
Golden eagles can be seen all over North America with higher populations in the western states. Other populations include Europe, Russia, and Asia.
Golden eagles typically live in partially or completely open country around mountains and cliffs. They are very adaptable and can range from arctic to desert, including tundra, grasslands, forest, and along rivers.
This species is opportunistic but feeds primarily on small and medium mammals, such as rabbits, squirrels, and prairie dogs. They have been known to take down larger animals, including swans, deer, seals, bobcats, and domestic livestock.