Aquila Chrysaetos – Golden Eagle

Aquila Chrysaetos - Golden Eagle in the United States

Because of their size and activity levels, Aquila Chrysaetos or commonly known as Golden eagles are among the most frequently caught birds in the National Wildlife Refuge System. In most seasons they are common throughout the Northern states, but in the breeding season, they are mostly seen in scattered areas. They belong to the family of Accipitridae in the genus Aquila.

Quick Overview: Aquila Chrysaetos – Golden Eagle
Body size: Around 27-38 in (69-97 cm) and a weight of 4534 g (160 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Red, Yellow, White, Black
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Golden eagle Description

The Golden eagle is one of North America’s most popular birds. The adult male can weigh as much as 45 pounds. They have a sleek, long, and graceful look with darkish brown heads, shoulders, and necks. They have red chest and breast markings, along with a yellow throat, and dark rings around the head. They also have white bellies, narrow black and brown wings, and white belly fluff.

Aquila Chrysaetos - Golden Eagle in the United States
Aquila Chrysaetos – Golden Eagle. Photo by: USFWS Mountain-Prairie


These birds have a length of 27-38 in (69-97 cm) and a weight of 4534 g (160 oz). Their wings could range 72-96 in (183-244 cm).


They primarily feed on a variety of foods, including small mammals, insects, acorns, seeds, and berries. Golden eagle food distributions change by season: They eat more in the breeding season and less so in the non-breeding season. These patterns are due to the availability of prey species, which they take advantage of during both seasons.


In late winter and spring, the northernmost margin of the breeding site becomes accessible. This area is usually heavily wooded; the greener the area of the nesting area, the larger the number of leporids, medium-sized mammals, and insectivores that the bird can feed upon.


Throughout the year, the adult male will preen and display for attracting mates, but in the breeding season he seeks out sites on high branches and in bird feeders. He can be found anywhere in this habitat, including on roads, in backyards, and inside cluttered areas. The male’s main tool for hunting prey is his beak; he uses it to crack open virtually any type of flesh, although he sometimes uses the talons on his toes. When he preens, he spreads his wings wide, making it easier for him to take off rapidly and for his fellow eagles to follow.

Aquila chrysaetos Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Acciptriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Aquila
  • Species: Aquila chrysaetos

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December

Distribution of the Golden eagle in the USA

From Alaska to Oregon, it is usually found high in the mountains or on river bluffs and cliffs. Golden eagles live in clear-cut forests in Washington. Cottonwoods along river valleys and marshes where eagles nest are common. There are golden eagles from southern Idaho to northern Arizona. There are few trees here, and the sagebrush and other low plants dominate. They could also be found in other places in the United States during migration.

The Golden eagle can also be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Aquila Chrysaetos – Golden Eagle

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