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Table of Contents
See the fact file below for more information on the bald eagle or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Bald eagle worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Accipitriformes
- Family: Accipitridae
- Genus: Haliaeetus
- Species: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Subspecies: Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus (Southern bald eagle) Haliaeetus leucocephalus washingtoniensis (Northern bald eagle)
SIZE and APPEARANCE
- The bald eagle is not actually bald; it gets its name because of its white head against its dark brown body, which makes it look bald from a distance.
- When flying, the bald eagle very rarely flaps its wings but soars instead, holding its wings almost completely flat.
- Its hooked bill, legs and feet are yellow.
- 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 coloration, but due to sexual dimorphism, females are 25% larger than males.
- The average bald eagle has a body length of 70–102 cm. The typical wingspan is between 1.8 and 2.3 m and its mass is normally between 3 and 6.3 kg.
- Because females are larger, they weigh in at an average 5.6 kg and against the males’ average weight of 4.1 kg.
HABITAT and BEHAVIOR
- Bald eagles are solitary birds of prey. But when there is abundant food, they may gather in groups of up to 400.
- Bald eagles live in forests that are near rivers, lakes, reservoirs, marshes and coasts. Some also live near fish processing plants, dumps and other areas where they can find food.
- Bald eagles build massive nests high in the treetops. The male and female work on the nest together, and this quality time helps them cement their lifelong bond.
- On average, bald eagle nests are 2-4 feet deep and 4-5 feet wide. One pair in Florida earned the Guinness World Record for the largest bird’s nest: 20 feet deep and 9.5 feet wide. The nest weighed over two tons!
- The bald eagle is a powerful flier and soars on thermal convection currents.
- A bald eagle reaches speeds of 56–70 km/h (35–43 mph) when gliding, and about 48 km/h (30 mph) when carrying fish.
- Bald eagles make a high-pitched squeaking sound.
- Bald eagles can sometimes find themselves submerged in water when they catch a large fish or are inexperienced. These birds can’t swim or survive long in water though. A neat trick, however, is that because their bones are hollow and feathers are light, they don’t sink and can use their wings to paddle back to shore.
- They display “talon clasping” or “cartwheel display”, where two eagles clasp each other’s talons in midair and spin down, letting go only when they’ve almost reached the ground. These may be for courtship or territorial disputes.
- To hunt fish, the eagle swoops down over the water and snatches fish out of the water with its talons. They eat by holding the down with its claws and tearing the flesh with its sharp beak. Eagles have structures on their toes called spicules that allow them to grasp slippery fish.
- Bald eagles are “fish eagles”. They are in this classification because their main food source, which is fish. They also eat carrion, smaller birds and rodents. Bald eagles are also known to prey on other large birds and large fish.
- Even though they are a symbol of freedom in the United States, these birds are known for being bullies that harass smaller birds and steal their prey.
LIFESPAN and REPRODUCTION
- Once paired, bald eagles remain with each other until one mate dies. The surviving bird will then find another mate.
- After the pair has built their nest, the female bald eagle will lay one to three eggs which are incubated for 34 to 36 days.
- Both the male and female take turns incubating the eggs, but the female does most of the sitting. The parent not incubating will hunt for food or look for nesting material during this stage.
- When they hatch, the chicks are covered in light-gray down. They are called eaglets.
- Juvenile bald eagles have mostly brown heads. For the first four to five years of their lives, they move through a series of different plumage patterns; in their second year, they have white bellies, for example.
- The average lifespan of bald eagles in the wild is around 20 years, with the oldest confirmed one having been 38 years old.
- In captivity, they often live longer. A captive individual in New York lived for nearly 50 years.
Bald eagle Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about bald eagle across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Bald eagle worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the bald eagle which is the most revered bird in the United States. It is the national symbol of freedom. Its distinctive brown body and white head and tail make it easy to identify, even from a distance.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Bald Eagle Facts
- Swoopin’ Right
- An Eagle’s Build
- Of Latin Origins
- Breaking the Myth
- Eagle Back Home
- Birds of Prey
- The Serpent & The Eagle
- Symbol of Valor
- Act I. Drawing
- Act II. Reflection
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Link will appear as Bald Eagle Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 23, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.