The eagle is a large bird of prey. Eagles have large wings, large, strong feet tipped with razor-sharp talons (claws), and long, sharp, hooked bills. These are all tools the eagle uses for hunting.
The eagle is a fierce hunter. It hunts during the day. The eagle’s broad wings–up to 8 feet (2.5 m) across–allow it to soar and glide as it searches for food on the ground. The eagle can stay airborne for several hours as it flies over lakes, rivers, and grasslands looking for food.
The eagle has large eyes and keen vision. An eagle’s eyes are twice as large as human eyes and its vision is up to eight times sharper than human eyesight. The eagle can spot a small animal such as a rabbit from 1 to 2 miles (2-3 km) away.
With its wings, tail, and talons stretched wide, the eagle will swoop down onto its prey and attack it from behind. As the eagle swoops down, it can close its wings and reach extremely high speeds. It will spread its large, strong feet to catch its prey; its razor-sharp talons will then close stabbing the prey to death. The eagle then tears apart the prey’s flesh using its large, hooked bill.
Eagles will attack just about any fish, bird, or small mammal. If live animals are not to be found, eagles will feed on the carcasses of dead animals such as sheep and deer.
Two of the best-known eagles are the bald eagle and the golden eagle. The bald eagle is not really bald; it has a pure white hood or head feathers. The bald eagle is found in North American from Alaska to Florida. The golden eagle is dark brown with a golden sheen on the back of its head and neck. The golden eagle is found in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
Eagles weigh up to 14 pounds (6.5 kg) and stand up to 36 inches (91 cm) tall. Eagles live up to 38 years. The scientific name of the bald eagle is Haliaeetus leucocephalus. The scientific name of the golden eagle is Aquila chrysaetos.
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