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Golden Eagle Golden Eagle

Golden Eagles are the national bird of Mexico.

Identification and Pictures

(Aquila chrysaetos)Golden Eagle

Golden Eagles are large birds of prey about 30 to 41 inches.  Their wing span is 6 to 7 feet.  They are dark brownish, getting a little lighter at the base of the tail.  There is a bit of gold on the back of the neck, and head.  They have a large hooked bill, good for tearing meat.  They have long broad wings, and tail.  The legs are feathered all the way to the toes.  The sexes are similar.  Young birds have a white tail, and white at the base of the wing primaries that can be seen when they fly.  Young Bald Eagles are often mistaken for Golden Eagles.

Golden Eagles fly with slow wing beats, often soaring on thermal currents.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Golden Eagle sound

They are not often heard.  They have a high scream, and yelping bark.  Sound

Preferred Habitat

Golden Eagles range throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere.  They can be found throughout the western part of North America, but they are not common in the east.  They like open mountains, canyons, plains, and foothills.

Breeding and Nesting

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagles mate at around 4 years and pair off for life.  During their courtship they will dive at each other while circling high in the air.  Both birds will build a nest of sticks, lined with fine wood materials on a cliff or large tree.  They will normally return to the same nest each year, however they may have other sites and alternate between them.  The female lays 1 to 4 creamy white eggs with small brown blotches.  Normally the female alone will incubate the eggs for 41 to 45 days.  While she is incubating the male will bring her food.  Both parents will care for the young birds.  The young birds will stay in the nest for around 10 weeks before fledging.   The availability of food determines whether the eagles will migrate or not.


Being powerful flyers Golden eagles often hunt from the air.  The main diet of Golden eagles is rabbits, hares, groundhogs, marmots, foxes, and squirrels, but they can, and do feed on much larger animals such as mountain sheep, and caribou.  They may have a hunting territory of 60 square miles or more.

To learn about other favorite birds click here.

Golden eagles are protected in the United States.  Possession of a feather or other body part is a felony with a fine of up to $10,000, and or 10 years in prison.  Native Americans are exempt from this because it is part of their native culture.

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