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What Do Eagles Eat?


Eagles eat a variety of things, depending on the species to which they belong. When people think of eagles, they often think of birds of prey, such as the golden eagle or bald eagle.

There Are Many Eagle Species

However, not all eagles are meat-eating hunters. There are 59 different species of eagles. Some are vegetarians, such as the African vulturine fish-eagle, which primarily eats palm fruits, while other eagles are the size of pigeons and eat insects. Nevertheless, when eagles are mentioned, you likely think of two birds. The bald eagle, which is the national bird and a native of North America, and the golden eagle, which is the largest bird of prey in North America.

Golden Eagles

These eagles eat such things as squirrels, rabbits, marmots, small rodents, birds, turtles and lizards, along with carrion. Golden eagles hunt alone or in pairs soaring through the sky looking for prey. Once they spot it, they can dive at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and use their large sharp talons to capture their prey.

Bald Eagles

These eagles prefer to eat fish, but they are opportunistic feeders and eat a variety of prey and carrion. Bald eagles will eat fish that they capture alive, dead, or dying. They also eat sea birds, squirrels, muskrats, raccoons and other small mammals, reptiles, snakes, crustaceans and even garbage, along with deer or livestock carcasses when they are available. In addition, bald eagles will eat whatever they can steal from other eagles, herons, ospreys, and some mammals.



“Golden Eagle – Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.” U.S. National Park Service – Experience Your America. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

“Bald Eagle Eco Risk Profile.” EPA. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <>.

“Eagles – Introduction | Nature | PBS.” PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012.

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