Golden Eagle vs Bald Eagle

All birds are descended from dinosaurs, with the first bird, the Aves, appearing about 144 million years ago. However, the eagle organically derived from raptors and only began to evolve some 36 million years ago.

The Accipitridae family of predatory birds includes the Golden Eagle (Aquila Chrysaetos) and the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus).

Since 1782, the Bald Eagle has served as the nation’s emblem. Due to the “Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act,” passed in 1940, the bald and golden eagles are of the least concern. In the 1960s and 1970s, the number of Bald Eagles rapidly decreased.

So what distinguishes a Golden Eagle from a Bald Eagle?

Golden Eagle Vs Bald Eagle : Appearance

Golden eagles – The Golden Eagle lacks a white head, which may be the primary morphological distinction between it and the Bald Eagle. Golden flecks may be seen at the nape of the golden eagles’ neck, which is mostly brown in color.

A young Golden Eagle, however, has white patches of feathers scattered down its wrists, near the tips of its wings, and at the end of its tail. The white spots of the Golden Eagle develop and turn dark brown or golden.

When fully grown, golden eagles stand three and a half feet tall and weigh between four and fifteen pounds.

Bald Eagle – As a young bird, the Bald Eagle’s tail feather tips are brown, with white patches covering its wings. As chicks become older, the black patches cover the majority of their head and tail feathers and nearly turn completely white.

The Bald Eagle utilizes its two-inch talons and hooked beak to grab food. Its feet include tiny spikes called spicules. Bald eagles reach a height of three feet and a weight range of six to fourteen pounds.

Golden Eagle Vs Bald Eagle : Characteristics

Golden eagles have brown heads with gold accents on the neck and rear of the head as they mature. The golden eagle has a black, hooked beak and a smaller head than the bald eagle.

The dark brown feathers of a golden eagle have some white feathers on their shoulders and tails. These birds, unlike other eagles, also have feathers on their legs. The hazel or dark brown eyes and feet of the golden eagle are likewise yellow.

Although juvenile golden eagles have dark brown feathers as well, they have white bands or stripes at the base of their tails, which also have black terminal bands.

However, when they get older and become adults, their head color seldom changes.

Bald eagles have a dark brown body and a white head when fully grown. Moreover, they have a white tail. The legs and eyes of the bald eagle are yellow.

The bald eagle does not completely display this colour until it is about five years old. The bald eagle’s head and body are brown as an immature bird, with some white markings. The feathers have a variety of these white markings.

The hooked, golden beak of the bald eagle is fairly huge. It has a big head as well. The bald eagle’s legs are also without feathers.

Bald eagle juveniles undergo a significant change in plumage as they become older. At one and a half years, the amount of white feathers on the head, particularly around the throat, has significantly increased. The beak also begins to become gray and lighter.

At age two and a half, the top of the head and the area surrounding the throat are much whiter. At this stage, the bird’s head seems to be heavily speckled. The beak has also changed color, becoming a very pale gray.

Golden Eagle Vs Bald Eagle : Range

Bald Eagles: Only North America is home to the bald eagle. Their area stretches from northern Mexico up to western Canada and the United States before ending in Alaska.

The Mexican state of Baja California Sur has a year-round population of Southern Bald Eagles. Although they are far more abundant in the west, Bald eagles are also seen in the eastern United States.

Golden Eagles: North America, Asia, northern Africa, and Europe are all within the Golden Eagle’s range. Golden eagles in North America are more common on the western half of the continent, similar to Bald Eagles.

Golden Eagle Vs Bald Eagle : Habitat

Golden Eagles are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere and stay away from unbroken tracts of woodland and developed areas. Golden Eagles may be found in mountainous areas up to 12,000 feet in elevation.

In addition to rimrock terrain, shrubland, woodlands, grasslands, and other vegetated regions, gold eagles also live in canyonlands and along riverbank cliffs. Golden Eagles have been spotted in a variety of habitats, from the sweltering desert to the icy Arctic.

While not all golden eagles migrate, some do, and at the start of the fall season, they will move to northern and eastern Canada.

Bald Eagle – Breeding occurs across Canada, however these birds often spend the whole year in remote areas, including sections of New Brunswick and Florida as well as Alaska and the State of Oregon.

Bald Eagle nests can be seen around lakeshores, seacoasts, and coastal rivers. In contrast to the Golden Eagle, the Bald Eagle prefers to live in areas near water that have a lot of coniferous and hardwood trees.

Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles: Taxonomy

Both the golden and bald eagles are members of the Accipitridae family, which also includes vultures, hawks, kites, and harriers. They are not closely connected to one another, despite the fact that they both have the name “eagle.”

The Aquila genus, usually referred to as the “real eagles,” includes golden eagles. Their name is derived from the Latin for eagle, which signifies “dark in hue,” and its derivative.

Their nearest relatives are Buteos, a group of raptors that belongs to the hawk family. The bald eagle, on the other hand, is a member of the Haliaeetus genus, also known as the sea eagles. The birds of the kite family are its closest relatives, unlike the gold eagle.

Bald and golden eagle breeding habits

Breeding habits of the golden eagle are found over most of western and northern Canada, starting in areas of Alaska and British Columbia. Beginning in March, female golden eagles lay two eggs three to four days apart. By late April or mid-May following the incubation period, chicks will hatch (43 – 45 days later).

The first golden eagle baby to emerge will be the dominant one, and they will hatch a few days apart. Unfortunately, only 20% of the second golden chicks that hatch survive through their first few weeks.

While the female is in charge of feeding and caring for the young for the first two weeks, male Golden Eagles hunt and provide the young with food. The young get ready to fly at 65 to 75 (9–10 weeks) days old, and after 100 days, they start living alone (roughly three months later in October).

At the age of three to four, breeding maturity begins.

Bald Eagles – The Bald Eagle mates for life, like the majority of eagles. They will, however, locate another mate if their partner passes away or is unable to procreate. The Bald Eagle will put on a show of aerobatic maneuvers to attract a mate, including cartwheels, swoops, and chases.

Similar to the Golden Eagle, the Bald Eagle will only ever lay two eggs, very rarely three, with a shorter incubation period of about 35 days than the Golden Eagle. Similar to the Golden Eagle, the mother cares for and feeds the young while the male goes hunting.

The Bald Eagle, however, will raise her young for a month, unlike the golden (rather than two weeks).

Bald eagles in the north lay their eggs between mid-November and January, and those in the south do so between April and May. After hatching, each juvenile bald eagle leaves its nest after about sixteen weeks (around the same time a golden would).

Golden Eagles and Bald Eagles: Plumage

Golden and bald eagles have remarkably similar appearances as young birds. Even many bird lovers would have trouble distinguishing between them since they are so similar. Both birds have white patterns on their wings and tails and dark brown plumage overall. However, the disparities grow more pronounced as they mature sexually.

The term “golden eagle” comes from the appearance of the feathers around their necks, which are a golden-brown color. Additionally, only the underwings and tail base often have the white mottling. Bald eagles resemble golden eagles beautifully until they are four or five years old.

However, as they become sexually mature, they develop their recognizable white hood. The Middle English word “balde,” which implies white, is where the term “bald eagle” originates. Additionally, as an adult, the bald eagle’s tail feathers nearly fully become white.

Nest Site

Golden eagles live in couples and construct numerous nests in one location. On lofty trees and cliffs are where they normally build their nests, which are made of plenty of grass and large branches. The female golden eagle will lay eggs every year between January and May. and each egg is around two in number.

Bald eagles gather a lot of resources. Build a big nest from of materials like branches, twigs, moss, grass, and feathers. These birds will return each year to their nest to enlarge it over time by adding new materials.

Additionally, female bald eagles deposit one to three eggs here each year, keeping them warm until they are ready to hatch on a rotating basis with their mate. Though it still varies on where they reside, the egg-laying process generally starts around November.

Baby eagles are known as eaglets once they hatch. As they become older, they will occasionally even hurt one another in the sake of food. As a result, not every eaglet that is born will live to adulthood.

Is A Bald Eagle Stronger Than A Golden Eagle?

Similar animals frequently contrast their strengths. Because of this, we never compare lions to deer but rather to tigers. Consider the bald eagle and the golden eagle, which are the two most prevalent eagles in North America. Which one is stronger, if at all?

Golden and bald eagles are both ferocious and quick hunters. They have remarkable prey-hunting skills. It is difficult to choose a winner because of this, however there are several compelling reasons why a golden eagle is said to be stronger than a bald eagle.

The first explanation is that golden eagles typically hunt on land, although bald eagles occasionally do so. Let’s examine this.

There are several areas where the golden eagle may be found. They may be found anywhere, including prairies, cliffs, mountain ranges, grasslands, and beaches.

Additionally, they serve as the emblem for nations like Kazakhstan, Mexico, and Germany. When it comes to their food, golden eagles mostly eat other birds, small animals, and reptiles. These eagles have occasionally been observed preying on mature deer.

They have strong talons, flexible toe joints, and strong foot muscles, all of which are necessary for a successful hunt. They make use of all of these benefits when they assault a terrestrial mammal for meals.

On the other hand, bald eagles mostly consume fish and other water creatures. As a result, they frequently reside close to a coastal region or other bodies of water. Because of the rough padding on their feet, they can seek for fish in the water without slipping. However, they lack the strength of golden eagles’ claws and feet.

Golden eagle attacks involve intense pressure. The meat is torn apart, and it can even break the spines of tiny creatures like a rabbit. The bald eagle does, however, have a benefit that may give the impression that it is stronger. The muscles of the beak and jaw are noticeably stronger in bald eagles.

The bird’s stronger beak enables it to crack open and consume crustaceans with hard shells, such as mussels, oysters, and lobster. Additionally, bald eagles are more aggressive and may battle other birds and animals for food.


Bald eagles love to consume fish as far as food is concerned. Fish makes up 56% of the bald eagle’s diet, according to studies done throughout its range. 66% of the food in southeast Alaska is made up of fish. The second most popular food on a Bald Eagle’s menu is birds. Their diet contains 28% of them.

Speaking of hunting birds, it has been seen that bald eagles may swoop below flying geese to catch up to them, spin around, and grab the breast with their talons. Animals rank third with 14% of the total. On rare occasions, they will feed on big creatures like deer.

The bald eagle is extremely hostile and opportunistic. When the going gets tough, they have perfected the technique of stealing food from other birds (kleptoparasitism), notably ospreys. They won’t likely pass up the opportunity to pounce on easily accessible carrion that is laying in the wild since they are opportunistic.

Bald Eagles have powerful talon grip. An adult is capable of exerting a grip force of up to 400 pounds per square inch.

Bald Eagles have special rough foot bottoms because they require the non-slip grip when catching fish.

Small mammals, reptiles, birds, and other animals make up the Golden Eagle’s staple food. They may occasionally hunt canines like coyotes and foxes. Additionally, it has been reported that they have attacked mature deer and Pronghorns.

Because they are primarily terrestrial predators, their talons serve as their primary weapons. They have incredibly flexible and strong toe muscles. They can apply pressure up to 400 pounds per square inch with their talon grasp, just like the Bald Eagle.


This essay about golden eagles versus bald eagles may be summarized by saying that eagles are strong raptors and specialized predators that are outstanding hunters. It could be difficult to distinguish between them at first, but the trick is to pay close attention to their color pattern.

You’ll notice that compared to a golden eagle, a bald eagle often has more extensive white on its head, nape of the neck, and tail. There is typically no need to take into account because of how subtly their differences in size, habitat, and body structure.

Eagles consistently draw large audiences and the majority of their attention, whether they are in the wild or a metropolitan zoo. By keeping in mind the crucial details listed above, you should be able to distinguish between a bald eagle and a golden eagle anytime you get the opportunity to view one.