Bald Eagle vs Golden Eagle Who will win between these two eagles? The bald eagle,is the proud national bird symbol of the United States, the only eagle unique to North America. The bald eagle is actually a sea eagle that commonly occurs inland along rivers and large lakes. The bald eagle’s scientific name signifies a sea eagle with a white head. At one time, the word “bald” meant “white,” not hairless. This powerful eagle is North America’s largest bird of prey and the national bird of Mexico. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks. They are extremely swift, and can dive upon their quarry at speeds of more than 150 miles per hour. Adult golden and bald eagles have distinguishing characteristics in their coloring making it easy to identify the species. SIZE AND DESCRIPTION Bald eagles are large, predatory raptors that are recognizable for their brown body and wings, white head and tail, and hooked yellow beak. Their feet, which are also yellow, are equipped with sharp black talons. Bald eagles grow to about 2.5 to 3 feet in height, and they have an impressive wingspan of 6.5 feet. Female bald eagles are larger than the males, but share the same coloration. The golden eagle it can grow to a length of 3 feet, with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet. Its plumage is dark brown with flecks of gold coloring around the head and neck. The golden eagle has brown eyes, a yellow beak and talons that grow to 3 inches. Golden eagles’ legs are feathered down to their talons. They typically live between 15 to 20 years but have been known to live as long as 30 years. DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT Bald eagles are North American birds. Their range extends from the Mexico border through the United States and Canada. The birds are extremely populous in Alaska. They can be seen year-round in Alaska, along the East and West coasts, the Rocky Mountains, and the Mississippi River. The rest of the United States only sees bald eagles during the winter and their migration. During the summer, they can be seen soaring above lakes and in nearby trees. They prefer lakes and reservoirs with lots of fish and surrounding forests. In the winter, bald eagles can be seen around unfrozen lakes and hunting along coastlines, reservoirs, and rivers. During their migration, bald eagles are seen near all types of water habitats. Golden Eagles live in open and semiopen country featuring native vegetation across most of the Northern Hemisphere. They avoid developed areas and uninterrupted stretches of forest. They are found primarily in mountains up to 12,000 feet, canyonlands, rimrock terrain, and riverside cliffs and bluffs. Golden Eagles nest on cliffs and steep escarpments in grassland, chapparal, shrubland, forest, and other vegetated areas. These majestic birds range from Mexico through much of western North America as far north as Alaska. they also appear in the east but are uncommon. Golden eagles are also found in Asia, northern Africa, and Europe. DIET Bald eagles love fish. These birds are opportunistic predators, and when fish aren’t available, they’ll eat whatever they can catch, including small birds and rodents. Bald eagles are also scavengers that will feed on carrion. If they see an opportunity, bald eagles may even steal food from other birds such as osprey. Like all raptors, golden eagles are carnivores and formidable hunters. They are large and powerful enough to take down an adult deer, but they typically feast on rodents, rabbits, reptiles, birds, fish and occasionally carrion or stolen prey from other birds. Their superb eyesight allows them to easily track down unwary prey. They can swoop down on their quarry at speeds up to 150 miles per hour, and the striking force of their powerful talons have been compared to the force of a bullet. After a successful hunt and meal, the golden eagle can go for several days before its next meal. BEHAVIOR Bald Eagles are powerful fliers—soaring, gliding, and flapping over long distances. In one of several spectacular courtship displays, a male and female fly high into the sky, lock talons, and cartwheel downward together, breaking off at the last instant to avoid crashing to earth. Bald Eagles frequently harass birds including Ospreys and other eagles to steal their food, and occasionally do the same to mammals such as river or sea otters. On the ground, Bald Eagles walk in an awkward, rocking gait. Capable of floating, a Bald Eagle may use its wings to “row” over water too deep for wading. Though often solitary, Bald Eagles congregate by the scores or even the hundreds at communal roosts and feeding sites, particularly in winter. These groups can be boisterous, with birds jostling for position and bickering over prey. During breeding season you may see Bald Eagles defending their territories from a variety of intruders, including raptors and ravens, coyotes and foxes. When feeding at carcasses, Bald Eagles may push Black and Turkey Vultures out of the way; Bald Eagles are often harassed or chased by their fellow raptors and by songbirds including blackbirds, crows, and flycatchers. Golden Eagles possess astonishing speed and maneuverability for their size. Diving from great heights, they have been clocked at close to 200 miles per hour. In an undulating territorial and courtship display known as “sky-dancing,” a Golden Eagle performs a rapid series of up to 20 steep dives and upward swoops, beating its wings three or four times at the top of each rise. In “pendulum flight,” the eagle dives and rises, then turns over to retrace its path. Single birds and pairs engage in aerial play with objects such as sticks or dead prey, carrying these items high into the sky, then dropping and retrieving them. In addition to attacking prey from the air, Golden Eagles sometimes hunt on the ground, wildly flapping as they run. Mated pairs hunt jackrabbits cooperatively during breeding season one eagle diverting the animal’s attention while the second makes the kill. Who would win in a showdown between a bald eagle and a golden eagle? Within the highly variable range of size and weight, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are the same. Golden Eagles eat mammals, whereas, Bald Eagles are usually fish eaters, which is why they possess larger bills. Golden Eagles chase down their prey and have a slightly longer tail for steering. Because baldies aren’t really built for terrestrial hunting they don’t have super powerful feet, or have the toe-joints to flexibly skewer an animal with any relevant accuracy. Their talons and rough-padded feet are made for gripping slippery prey like fish to keep it from escaping, not stabbing it to death. Stabbing is how golden eagles kill, along with impact-diving at high speeds, which crushes bones and rips apart tissues. Their feet muscles are stronger, and made for pinning down and repeatedly shanking prey to death, along with crushing the spine for some mammalian prey items like rabbits. They don’t have very powerful bill, or jaw muscles the way baldies do. But they do have very flexible hip joints that let them throw their legs forward farther than a bald eagle could dream of. Which is odd, since most other fish-eaters like osprey can throw their legs forward almost 180 degrees. Baldies, and other fish eagles, however, can not. But goldens can. In a fight between the two, as does happen where their ranges overlap, usually the golden will retreat, except when defending a nest. If nests are involved, then I pin the winning bet on the golden. They’re more agile in flight, have stronger feet, and though not nearly as aggressive as a bald eagle, they are determined. If a baldie misses a shot, it will usually leave. If a golden misses a shot, it’s going to come back for round two through however long it takes for what it is hunting to be dead. They have stamina.