Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Length: 30 to 43 inches
Weight: 8 to 14 pounds
Wingspan: 6 to 71/2 feet
Diet: mostly fish
Number of Eggs: usually 2
Home: United States and Canada

Long ago, when people named the bald eagle, bald meant white. The bald eagle's head is covered with thick white feathers. The tail is white, too. The rest of the bird's feathers are brown. Bald eagles usually live near lakes, rivers, and seacoasts. They sit in tall trees or circle overhead. Their eyesight is excellent. They can see a rabbit hopping on land from 2 miles or more. When bald eagles spot prey, they quickly catch it with their powerful claws. These are known as talons. Bald eagles prefer to eat fish. They also catch rabbits and other small mammals. And they chase and catch birds in midair. They are pirates, too. They rob sea otters and other animals of the food they catch. Usually, bald eagles live alone or in small groups. But sometimes hundreds or even thousands gather in one spot. This occurs if food is plentiful and easily caught.

Both parents build the nest. This is a large structure made of sticks and lined with leaves and grass. The nest is usually high in a tree or on a rocky ledge. And it is safe from other animals. The parents share in warming the eggs and caring for the young eaglets.

In 1782, the bald eagle was chosen as the national bird of the United States. Today it is endangered. The main reason is because people shoot it and destroy its nesting habitats.

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SOURCE: Amazing Animals of the World

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