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Eagle: Key Facts

How many eagle species are there, and where do they live in the world? What is the largest eagle? The smallest? How long do they live? You have questions about eagles, and we have the answers! Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more eagle key facts.

Quick Facts About Eagles

Scientific NameAccipitridae
Number of SpeciesAt least 60
Physical DescriptionLarge and powerful predatory bird of flight; appearance varies between species, but all eagles have large, strong beaks and talons. Many eagles have black, brown, gray, and white feathers. Most are exceptionally lightweight for their size, which gives them their impressive flying and soaring capabilities.
DistributionMostly in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but eagles can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
HabitatVaries by species; may include wetlands, forests, jungles, mountains, grasslands, deserts, moors, and coastal areas. 
Average SizeVaries by species. Overall:
– Body Weight: 1 to 20 pounds
– Body Length: 15 to 42 inches
– Wingspan: 33 to 98 inches
Average LifespanVaries by species; usually 15 to 30 years 
DietCarnivore: Eats various types of fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, and insects
Largest SpeciesSteller’s Sea Eagle
Smallest SpeciesGreat Nicobar Serpent Eagle

What are the Main Types of Eagles?

According to Bird Life International, there are more than 60 distinct species of eagle, and most of them are found in Africa and Eurasia. Some of the most well-known eagle species are as follows:

  • Golden eagle: Most widespread throughout the world
  • Bald eagle: United States’ national bird
  • Steller’s sea eagle: Largest eagle species
  • Great Nicobar serpent eagle: Smallest eagle species
  • African fish eagle: National bird of four African countries

Which Eagle is the Strongest?

The harpy eagle is generally regarded as the strongest and most powerful eagle in the world. Native to central and southern America, this bird is only slightly smaller than the Steller’s sea eagle of Asia, but the harpy is much stronger.

Harpy eagles can carry prey weighing up to their own weight, which can be up to 20 pounds. They regularly make a habit of hunting ocelots, monkeys, sloths, boa constrictors, and other large prey animals.

To learn more about this impressive eagle, check out the following video.

How Can You Tell Between Male and Female Eagles?

Depending on the species, male and female eagles can be difficult to tell apart. In many cases, the female is larger than the male, but this may be the only determining factor–and to an untrained birdwatcher, it may take seeing a male and female sitting next to each other to notice any difference in their size. 

Specific species of eagles may have other slight differences between the sexes. In the case of bald eagles, females have longer hallux talons and deeper angles in their beaks.

Again, though, these differences can be really challenging to make out. If you happen to see an eagle in the act of laying eggs, that is perhaps the most certain way to tell that it is a female, but once the eggs are laid, both the female and the male work together to incubate them and care for the young.

Conclusion

There are many eagle species that live throughout the world. They come in many different sizes and colors, but they are all strong, powerful birds of prey that hunt smaller birds as well as a variety of animals.

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