Micke Grove Zoo

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Southern Bald Eagle


(Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Habitat: Near seacoasts, rivers, large lakes, oceans, and other large bodies of open water with an abundance of fish
Range: Most of North America, including most of Canada, all of the continental United States and northern Mexico
Natural Diet: Fish is the preferred diet of eagles, but they also eat small mammals, waterfowl, turtles and dead animals

Status In The Wild: Least concern

Fun Animal Facts
The bald eagle is a conservation success story.  By 1963, shooting, habitat destruction, lead poisoning, and DDT contamination reduced eagle numbers to a mere 417 pairs.  Since legal protections have been in place, bald eagles have undergone a strong increase in numbers and an expansion in range, with an estimated ten-fold increase from the 1963 low .

Up to 3 feet in height, a bald eagle's wing span is almost 8 feet. Adults have a distinctive white head and tail, dark brown body and yellow eyes, beak and legs. By contrast, young eagles are uniformly brown and do not develop their characteristic plumage until they mature at about 5 years of age.

Bald eagles are predators. They have several adaptations that fit them for that role. They have excellent eyesight and the frontal setting of their eyes gives them excellent binocular vision as well as peripheral vision.

The eagle has a strong, hooked beak with which it tears food, but it uses its powerful, taloned feet to capture prey. Bald eagles prefer fish, which they often capture by swooping down and snatching them from the water's surface.

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