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Golden Eagle

Scientific Name:

Aquila chrysaetos




Open country, including mountains, deserts, foothills and plains


Northern Hemisphere, Eurasia, and parts of northern Africa


Least Concern (IUCN Red List), however they are federally protected in the United States

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Golden Eagles are dark brown in color excluding the area around their necks, face, and on top of their head. These areas are golden to golden brown which leads to their naming as a Golden Eagle. Golden Eagle bodies are about 3 to 3 1/2 feet in length, however their wingspan can reach about 7 feet across, which is why the Golden Eagle is considered the largest raptor in the northern hemisphere. Golden Eagle heads are much smaller than the rest of their body. Female Golden Eagles weigh more than their male counterparts, weighing in at about 15 pounds.

Fast Facts:

  • Golden Eagles are the largest bird of prey in the northern hemisphere.

  • Golden Eagles have a Halux Claw (hind claw) about 2 inches long that helps them kill their prey.

  • Golden Eagles are also one of the fastest birds of prey, able to reach speeds of 150 miles per hour when diving.

  • Golden Eagle prey includes marmots, rabbits, ground squirrels, and fish to name a few. They can also prey on young small deer but this is less common.

  • Early ranchers in the west were under the impression that a Golden Eagle could kill and take young cattle, but that has been shown to be inaccurate.

  • Golden Eagles are monogamous, but may have multiple nest sites in their range of about 60 miles or so.

  • Nests of Golden Eagles are elevated, usually occupying tall trees, cliffs, or even power poles.

  • Female Golden Eagles can lay up to four eggs, however usually only two will survive to leave the nest.

  • Both male and female Golden Eagles will participate in egg incubation, but once born, the male Golden Eagle will leave the nest to help feed the eaglets.

  • Most Golden Eagles prefer not to be in urban (human occupied) areas.



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Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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