Haliaeetus leucocephalus


Common Names: Bald eagle
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Hawks, Kites, & Eagles

The bald eagle is both the national bird and national animal of the United States of America. The bald eagle appears on its seal. In the late 20th century it was on the brink of extirpation in the contiguous United States. Populations have since recovered and the species was removed from the U.S. government's list of endangered species on July 12, 1995 and transferred to the list of threatened species. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the Lower 48 States on June 28, 2007. It is currently protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

The bald eagle has a body length of 28 to 40 inches. Typical wingspan is between 5.9 and 7.5 feet, weighing 6.6 to 13.9 pounds. The plumage of an adult bald eagle is evenly dark brown with a white head and tail. The tail is moderately long and slightly wedge-shaped. Males and females are identical in plumage coloration, but sexual dimorphism is evident in the species, in that females are 25% larger than males. The beak, feet and irises are bright yellow. The legs are feather-free, and the toes are short and powerful with large talons. The beak is large and hooked, with a yellow cere. The plumage of the immature is a dark brown overlaid with messy white streaking until the fifth (rarely fourth, very rarely third) year, when it reaches sexual maturity.

The bald eagle's natural range covers most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States, and northern Mexico. The bald eagle occurs during its breeding season in virtually any kind of American wetland habitat such as seacoasts, rivers, large lakes or marshes or other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish.


Edible Notes: No available information on edibility.
Warnings: While not generally considered dangerous, eagles are large raptors capable of inflicting serious injury and will sometimes will attack humans or pets when defending their territory. It is not safe (or legal) to handle an injured eagle unless protected and authorized.
Sightings