How to feed a baby eagle

Baby Eagles: All You Need To Know (with Pictures)

What does a baby eagle look like?

How big is a baby eagle?

How much do baby eagles weigh?

What do juvenile eagles look like?

What is a baby eagle called?

What is a group of baby eagles called?

What do baby eagles eat?

How do eagles feed their chicks?

How long do baby eagles take to grow?

How many eagle chicks survive through to adulthood?

What do eagle eggs look like?

How long do eagle eggs take to hatch?

When do eagles lay eggs?

How often do eagles lay eggs?

When can baby eagles fly?

When do baby eagles leave their nests?

How long do baby eagles stay with their parents?

How do baby eagles learn to hunt?

Do eagles reuse nests?

Eagles are probably the most famous and well-known of all the birds of prey. There are some 60 species of eagles distributed throughout the world, primarily in the Americas and Asia, and many are important cultural icons and symbols.

Every mighty eagle starts life as a tiny eaglet - a baby eagle. This article will explore everything about baby eagles, and of course, there will be plenty of pictures of baby eagles along the way!

What does a baby eagle look like?

The vast majority of baby eagles have thick fluffy brown, grey or white down. Probably the only way you’d identify them as an eaglet is by their hooked typically-eagle-like beaks. Otherwise, they look similar to many species of baby birds - fluffy, small and somewhat prehistoric or dinosaur-like!

Baby eagles also have quite a pronounced egg tooth, which is a specialised tip on the front of the beak used to pierce the eggshell. The egg tooth only lasts for around a week after hatching.

A baby bald eagle with their parent in the nest

How big is a baby eagle?

Considering the size of many fully grown eagles, baby eagles are tiny. Even the largest eagles in the world, such as the colossal Harpy Eagle, have eaglets that are just a few inches in length at birth.

Bald Eagle chicks generally tend to measure around 10 to 13cm after hatching (4 to 5 in).

How much do baby eagles weigh?

Even the eaglets of the largest species of eagles weigh just around 100 grams (3.5 oz).

Golden Eagle chicks have been found to weigh around 105 to 115 g (3.7 to 4.1 oz). This is around 3 times the weight of a baby chicken and double that of a duckling. Baby eagles are still small and light for birds of their adult size.

Golden Eagle taking care of its young chick (eaglet)

What do juvenile eagles look like?

Juvenile eagles reach full adulthood slowly, despite reaching a significant size in just 2 months or so. Full adult plumage can take as long as 4 years to develop, at which stage the juvenile eagle will have long reached adult size and will have established its own independent territories.

Many juvenile eagles remain somewhat brown or grey-ish in tone with mottled plumage and tufts of down until they’re 1 year of age at least. Some species, such as the Golden eagle, retain patches of white feathers on their undersides which are lost by full adulthood.

For some species, such as the White-Tailed eagle, adult plumage might take as long as 8 years to develop! This is quite unique amongst the development timelines of other birds.

Juvenile Golden Eagle soaring high in the sky

What is a baby eagle called?

Baby eagles are invariably called eaglets, regardless of the species. At the point a baby eagle fledges the nest, it becomes a fledgling, the same as any other fledgling bird.

What is a group of baby eagles called?

There’s no specific name for a group of baby eagles, but a group of eagles is often called an aerie, soar or convocation.

What do baby eagles eat?

Baby eagles are fed raw meat from day 1. Their parents don’t regurgitate food, but simply tear it up into smaller pieces and feed it to the chicks whole. In the early days, it’s mostly the father that hunts and feeds the chicks, but the mother will likely join after a week or so has passed or if food is scarce.

A Bald Eagle feeding their young with meat

How do eagles feed their chicks?

The adult eagles will hunt food, tear it up, and use their beaks to feed it directly to their chicks. There’s no regurgitation process like there is with other birds - the chicks swallow pieces of meat whole. Eaglets are generally fed around 1 to 8 times a day, the larger chick often gets priority over the smaller one and will therefore be much more likely to survive through to adulthood.

How long do baby eagles take to grow?

Baby eagles grow quickly. By the time they’re ready to fledge after 10 to 14 weeks, many will have reached skeletal maturity already. Some species take longer to reach adult size and weight, but still only around 4 to 6 months at the most.

Juvenile eagles continue to develop muscle mass for a year or longer and for some species like the White-Tailed eagle, full plumage can take up to 8 years to develop!

A young golden eagle chick being looked after by mother

How many eagle chicks survive through to adulthood?

Most species of eagles lay just 2 eggs up to a typical maximum of 4. It’s generally unlikely that more than 50% will survive, and usually, it’s the first-born eaglets that live.

This is because they’re fed sooner and tend to be larger. If food is particularly abundant, it is possible for a pair of eagles to successfully rear 3 chicks, but this is still rare.

What do eagle eggs look like?

Eagle eggs are usually white, sometimes with a pale pink hue, and often have light brown splotches.

They’re generally unremarkable, but the eggs of larger eagle species can reach sizes of 7 to 7.6 cm (2.7 to 3”). This is somewhat similar in girth to a baseball or tennis ball. Compared to the relatively small size of eaglets, eagle eggs are quite large.

Two eagle eggs in the nest

How long do eagle eggs take to hatch?

This does vary from species to species, but generally, eagle eggs take around 35 days to hatch.

Golden eagle eggs take slightly longer, up to 45 days. Harpy eagle eggs are incubated for a whopping 55 days or so before they hatch. This is above average amongst birds, though it doesn’t compare to, say, a Wandering Albatross, who incubate their eggs for up to 85 days!

When do eagles lay eggs?

This varies from species to species and region to region. For example, at northerly latitudes including the UK, North Europe, Canada and the northerly states of the USA, egg-laying typically starts around March and April. Closer to the equator, egg-laying might occur throughout the early winter, as early as November in some regions.

Some eagles such as the Crowned Eagle lay eggs all year round, though there are still peak seasons. Close to the equator, egg laying can often occur at any time of year.

Close up of a Crowned Eagle

How often do eagles lay eggs?

Whilst most eagles lay small clutches of eggs each year, many species of eagles have longer breeding cycles. Some species, like the Harpy Eagle, only lay eggs every 3 to 5 years. Crowned Eagles are similar, laying eggs once every 2 to 3 years.

When can baby eagles fly?

Baby eagles fledge after around 10 to 14 weeks. Their parents will encourage them to fly and leave the nest, but they won’t become more independent for around 2 to 3 months at least, or much longer for some species.

For example, Crowned Eagle and Harpy Eagle eaglets stay with their parents for up to 9 to 10 months, hence why their reproductive cycle is so long.

An immature Bald Eagle in flight

When do baby eagles leave their nests?

It depends on the species of eagle, but most eaglets fledge within 14 weeks or so. However, that doesn’t mean that they truly leave the nest. Whilst baby eagles are somewhat independent of their parents in as little as 3 to 4 months, many stay with their parents until the following winter or next year's spring if they’re born late in the season.

How long do baby eagles stay with their parents?

This really varies between species. For example, the White-Tailed eagle is quick to fledge, typically learning to fly after just six weeks. But then, the juvenile eagle may not leave its family territory for as long as three years.

The Crowned Eagle has an exceptionally long breeding cycle as the eaglets are known to spend at least ten months with their parents, again not leaving the family territory for some time after.

Despite many species of eagles staying with their parents for a while, the eaglets or juvenile eagles themselves are capable of hunting after around 16 weeks, not long after they fledge.

Juvenile White-tailed Eagle

How do baby eagles learn to hunt?

Like many other raptors, baby eagles have innate hunting skills that develop quickly. Whilst they do watch and learn from their parents, most species of eagles can hunt not long after they fledge the nest.

Eaglets will tear and eat their own food after just 3 to 4 weeks - the parents will simply dump the kill in the nest and let them get on with it.

Do eagles reuse nests?

Eagle nests are large, dense and are often intensively built over as long as six months. In emergency situations, eagles can rebuild their nests in a matter of weeks, but it’s definitely preferable for them to have a large, strong and stable nest that they can work to maintain through the year.

Eagle pairs spend a good deal of time locating an ideal nesting site - they are not opportunistic nesters. Once they establish a nest, most species of eagles will maintain it religiously, constantly replenishing it with new material. Some eagle nests can reach enormous diameters of some 3m (9ft) and can be 3 to 5m deep.

Expert Q + A


When are baby bald eagles usually born?

BirdFact Team

It essentially depends on the location of where the bald eagles are nesting. The general rule is that the higher the elevation, the later in the year nesting and egg-laying takes place.

For example, bald eagles in Florida lay their eggs from October all the way through to April. In Arizona, bald eagles lay eggs starting in January, and usually stop mid February.

Hopefully, our bald eagle nesting article can help a little more!

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Bald Eagle

Baby eagles are small and helpless when they are hatched, but they don't stay that way for long. All eagle parents take very good care of their young, and this includes feeding the eaglets all the food they can eat. As a result, the chicks grow very rapidly. Golden eagles, for example, weigh only about three ounces at birth (85 grams). But they weigh forty times as much only 45 days later.

On this page, we've shown how eagles bring their young into the world. Other types of eagles build different kinds of nests, and there may be some differences in the way they raise their young. But the story is basically the same for all baby eagles.

Bald eagles and other large eagles build their nests to last. The main part of the nest is usually made of big sticks.

Many types of eagles use the same nest year after year, and every year the nest gets larger. Once a nest is built, it may be used by pairs of eagles for a very long time - perhaps hundreds of years on some cases. As one pair of eagles dies, another pair may take over and continue to add to the nest. In this way, some nests may get to be as big as a small truck.

Some type of eagles, may have two or three nests. But they only use one at a time. The area of the nest that will be used for raising chicks is usually lined with leaves, or something else that is soft.

Finding a safe place is the main thing when eagles build a nest. If there are no tall trees around, many eagles will build their nests high up on the sides of cliffs. Golden eagles actually seem to prefer cliff nests.

After mother eagles lay their eggs, they may sit on the nest for a long time before the eggs begin to hatch. the Golden eagle shown here may have to stay on the nest as long as 50 days. The job is sometimes shared by the father eagle.

When an eagle chick is ready to start hatching, it can be heard calling from inside the egg.

After it starts calling, it takes the chick about 15 hours to peck the first hole in the egg. There is a special "egg tooth" on the chick's beak to break through the shell.

Once the first hole has been made, the chick starts working harder. But it may still take another 35 to 40 hours for it to break out of the shell completely.

By the time the chick is all the way out of the shell, it is usually very tired. Most chicks lie still and rest for a bit, while they dry off and their feathers begin to fluff up.

From the time they hatch, it takes eagles 65 to 75 days to get ready to fly. During this time, their white downy coats are replaced by darker feathers.

When there are young eagles in the nest, both of the parents have to do a lot of hunting. The chicks never seem to get enough to eat, and their parents are constantly taking off to look for food.

Baby eagles don't drink milk like baby humans. Instead, their parents give them little bits of meat. The parents feed newborn chicks by gently placing the bits of meat in their mouths.

The eyes of all eagles have an extra eyelid called a nictitating membrane (NICT-tuh-TATE-ing). This can be used to clean the eyes or to protect them. Eagle parents often pull the membranes over their eyes when feeding their young. This keeps the chicks from accidentally damaging the eye as they lunge for food.

Juhani Kyyr, Hannu Ekblom, Ilkka Heiskanen & Hannu Hautala
Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 all rights reserved.
Zoo Books Copyright 1985 all rights reserved.

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Do you know how an eagle chooses a father for her eagles?

She does such an interesting thing. She breaks off a twig from a tree or bush, takes it in her beak, rises to a great height and starts circling with this twig. Eagles begin to fly around the female, then she throws this branch down, while she looks. And then some eagle picks up this branch in the air, not letting it fall, and then brings it to the female very carefully, from beak to beak. The eagle takes this branch and throws it down again, the male catches it again and brings it to her, and she throws it again ... And this is repeated many, many times. If, for a certain time and repeated throwing of a branch, the eagle picks it up each time, then the female chooses him, and they mate with him. nine0003

Why she does this, you will understand later.

Then they gather high on the rock, make a nest of hard sticks, and mum and dad start tearing down and feathers out of themselves, from their own flesh, with their beaks. With this fluff and feathers they line the nest, clog all the holes in it, make it soft and warm. In such a soft and warm nest, the eagle lays her eggs, then they incubate the chicks. When the eaglets appear (and they come to the Light of God so small, naked, weak), their parents cover them with their bodies until they get stronger. They shield their wings from the rain, from the scorching sun, they bring them water, food, and the chicks grow. They begin to grow feathers, wings and tail grow stronger. nine0003

And now they have already fledged, although they are still small. Then mom and dad see that it's time... Dad sits on the edge of the nest and starts beating it with his wings: thrashing, pounding, shaking this nest. For what? In order to knock out all the feathers and fluff, so that only a rigid frame of branches remains, which at the very beginning they wove and folded. And the chicks are sitting in this shaken nest, they are uncomfortable, hard, and they do not understand what happened: after all, mommy and daddy used to be so affectionate and caring. Mom at this time flies somewhere, catches a fish and sits down about five meters from the nest so that the chicks can see. Then, in front of his chicks, he begins to eat this fish quietly. nine0003

The chicks are sitting in the nest, yelling, squeaking, not understanding what happened, because before everything was different. Mom and dad fed them, watered them, and now everything is gone: the nest has become hard, there are no feathers and down, and the parents themselves eat fish, but they don’t give them.

What to do? After all, you want to eat, you have to get out of the nest. And then the chicks begin to make movements that they have never done before. They wouldn't have done them any more if their parents had continued to babysit them. The chicks start to crawl out of the nest. Here the eaglet falls out, so clumsy, still can’t do anything, doesn’t know anything. The nest stands on a rock, on a sheer cliff, so that no predators get close. The chick breaks off this slope, rides on it with its belly, and then flies into the abyss. And then dad (the one who once caught twigs) rushes headlong down and catches this eaglet on his back, preventing him from breaking. And then, on his back, he lifts him again into an uncomfortable nest, again onto a rock, and everything starts all over again. These chicks fall, and the father catches them. nine0003

And the Father caught them like an eagle on His back. Among the eagles, not a single eagle is broken.

And at one of the moments of the fall, the eaglet begins to make a movement that it has never done before: it spreads its lateral processes-wings in the wind, getting into the air stream and thus begins to fly. This is how eagles teach their young. And as soon as the chick begins to fly by itself, the parents take it with them and show the places where the fish is found. They no longer carry it in his beak.

This is a very good example of how we need to educate our children spiritually and physically. How important it is not to overexpose them in a warm nest! How important it is not to overfeed them with fish when they can already catch it themselves! But with what care should we teach them to fly, devoting our strength, and our time, and wisdom, and skills to this! No wonder the female chooses the male by throwing a twig. She doesn't want her kids to die. You choose a careless dad without checking, and then you don’t count the children ... Eagles already have few chicks, one or two ...

Author: V. Zhemchug

Instructions: How to care for found chicks

If you decide to hatch a chick, be sure to find out what you can not give him, as some food is not suitable for certain types of birds.

On the eve of spring and the expected fall of the chicks, PanARMENIAN.Net decided to share some recommendations that will help you navigate in the situation of saving your feathered friends.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Let's make a reservation from the very beginning that each species of birds has its own peculiarities of nursing chicks.

Most often, fledglings come across - these are chicks that have just begun to fly out of the nest and stand on the wing (sparrows, crows, magpies, starlings, etc.). If they are in a safe place, they do not need to be touched, as this is the natural process of becoming a young bird. The chick's parents are always there: they feed and protect them until they acquire all the necessary skills. This point, however, does not apply to swifts. By about 40 days after hatching, swift chicks themselves fly out of the nest - their parents do not have to teach them to fly. If you find a swift, try to help it fly up, because due to the peculiarities of their structure, swifts cannot take off from the ground (long wings and short legs). To do this, lift it above your head and toss it slightly. nine0003

If the bird cannot fly, then it is either sick or it is a chick that has fallen out of the nest. By the way, nursing swifts is a very specific process due to their rather delicate structure and diet.

A separate issue is the chicks that have fallen out of the nest. As a rule, they themselves fall by negligence or are blown away by the wind. These chicks are small, their plumage is not developed or poorly developed: they do not have a tail, and tubules predominate on the wings. Dropped chicks do not show normal activity, but, as a rule, lie on the ground and squeak. Most often, such chicks are injured when they fall and will not survive in nature, because. need emergency treatment and long-term rehabilitation. nine0003

You can do a little test to determine the age of a bird by placing it on your finger. If the chick confidently grabs onto it, then most likely it is a fledgling.

If the bird has difficulty flapping its wings, it is most likely injured. Also, if the bird is trembling, it may indicate that she has an illness or dehydration.

And yet, if you decide to breed a chick, be sure to find out what not to give him, as some foods are not suitable for certain types of birds. For example, most do not tolerate milk. nine0003

Determine the type of bird and, accordingly, its diet. What the chick eats will depend on what its parents eat. For example, finches and goldfinches are granivorous, swifts and swallows are insectivorous, sparrows feed mainly on plant foods, only in spring partially on insects, which also feed chicks, crows eat everything from nuts and berries to insects and small rodents.

Do not give water to the chick. If the food is sufficiently soaked, then it will not need additional water, at least until it has fledged. Water can do more harm than good, because the chick can inhale it and die

Use a syringe to feed the mixture down the throat of the chick below the glottis (no needle).

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