Golden Eagle: Large raptor with dark brown body and golden-brown feathers on back of head and nape. Eyes and bill are dark. Legs are completely feathered. Female is noticeably larger than male. Juvenile has large white tail patch with black terminal band.
Range and Habitat
Golden Eagle: Occurs worldwide. In North America, it breeds from Alaska eastward across the Canadian arctic to northern Labrador, but is absent from most of Keewatin and the arctic archipelago. In the west, it occurs south to Baja and northern Mexico, including all of the western U.S. Habitats include mountainous areas, canyons, shrub lands, and grasslands.
Breeding and Nesting
Golden Eagle: Two red brown marked, white to creamy buff eggs are laid in a nest made of large sticks, lined with rootlets, eucalyptus leaves, moss, rabbit fur, twigs, yucca roots, and dried grass, and built on a cliff face, dirt bank, on the ground, on man-made structures, or in a deciduous or conifer tree. Incubation ranges from 41 to 45 days and is mostly carried out by the female.
Foraging and Feeding
Golden Eagle: Diet consists primarily of small mammals such as rabbits and hares; also eats birds, reptiles, and carrion. A pair often hunts together; one chases prey to exhaustion, and the other swoops down for the kill. Dives at speeds estimated from 150-200 mph; can carry up to 8 pounds in flight.
Golden Eagle: Makes a yelping bark around the nest. Also yelps or mews during soaring courtship flight.
Golden Eagle: Juvenile Bald Eagle has a shorter tail and mottled white patches on underparts.