Eagles are admired the world over as living symbols of power, freedom and transcendence.
Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey, with heavy heads and beaks.
What do eagles eat?
Eagles apex predators, meaning they are at the top of the food chain. What eagles eat depends upon the species and the food that is available to them, but they are all carnivorous and live on a diet of meat and/or fish. Eagles have amazing eyesight and can detect prey up to two miles away.
What do eagles look like?
With the exception of some vultures, eagles are generally larger than other birds of prey. They have strong muscular legs, powerful talons and large hooked beaks that enable them to rip the flesh from their prey.
Eagles are often informally divided into four groups
Eagles can be divided broadly into four groups; sea eagles, booted eagles, snake eagles and giant forest eagles. Booted eagles have a relatively wide diet consisting of birds, small mammals, reptiles, rodents, amphibians and insects, whereas others are more restricted.
Sea eagles or fish eagles feed mostly on a diet of fish whilst snake eagles specialize on capturing reptiles. Giant forest eagles feed on various forest animals. One of the largest eagles, the Harpy eagle, feeds on larger animals including monkeys, sloths and coatis.
Sea eagles or fish eagles take fish as a large part of their diets, either fresh or as carrion.
Booted eagles or “true eagles have feathered tarsi (lower legs). They prefer forest with open areas like clearances. They can also be found in open areas like desserts or grassland or even on sea cliffs.
The Booted Eagle has a broad diet. Birds are often taken on the ground. Prey species include larks, pipits, pigeons, starling or thrushes. The Booted Eagle is capable of spectacular stoops.
Snake or serpent eagles are, as the name suggests, adapted to hunting reptiles. These World eagles are found in tropical parts of Asia and Africa.
Snake-eagle legs and toes are covered in thick scales that help protect them from bites.
Harpy eagles or “giant forest eagles” are large eagles that inhabit tropical forests.
What do eagles see
Sight is the strongest of all eagle senses. The eyes are large, can take up almost 50% of the head, and can weigh the same amount as a human eye. An eagle’s vision is 4–5 times better than that of a human. Eagle eyes are angled 30 degrees away from center of the face, which gives eagles a greater field of view. Eagles can see five basic colors to our three, and can detect UV light.
Cones are light detecting cells that are sensitive to color. One of the reasons that eagles have better vision than humans is because their retinas, a layer at the back of the eyeball, have more cones. We have 200,000 cones per square millimeter, whereas eagles have one million.
Do eagles mate for life?
Eagles are monogamous, so generally mate for life. They have strong site fidelity, so a mating pair tends to reuse the same nest year after year. Nests composed of sticks, vegetation, and downy feathers, are built by both males and females.
Location of the nest varies with species. Bald eagles for example, most likely nest in tall trees whereas as golden eagles prefer cliff faces or more open areas.
How many eggs do eagles lay?
The number of eggs laid will depend upon species, but many eagles lay between one and three eggs; four egg clutches do occur, but they are rare