Characteristics of Bald Eagles

The bald eagle is one of the largest birds in the Northeast. In profile, as it flies toward you, its wings are held straight out; the more common turkey vulture soars with its wings held in a V-shape. As the eagle passes overhead, the feathers at the tips of its wings are widely separated, and its relatively short tail is usually fanned open.

Height: 30 inches

Weight: 8-12 pounds

Wing Span: 6-7 feet

Adult Color: (by about 5 years)

  • white head and tail
  • dark brown body and wings
  • bright orange-yellow beak and feet
  • lemon yellow iris

Immature Color:

  • chocolate brown mottled with white
  • black beak gradually lightens to a spotty horn color
  • dark brown iris gradually lightens to pale yellow

Male and female eagles look identical, although females are usually the larger of the two.

Females weigh 10 - 14 pounds, while males generally weigh 8 - 10 pounds. Females have a longer beak and longer back toe.

Although not common (only 1 or 2 along the Upper Delaware annually) the golden eagle is frequently mistaken for an immature bald eagle.

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