Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)


French: Pygargue à tête blanche German: Weißkopf-Seeadler Spanish: Pigargo americano

Falco leucocephalus


, 1766,

America, Europe = South Carolina, USA


Close relationship with H. albicilla supported by genetic data#R. Subspecific name alascanus/alascensis synonymous with washingtoniensis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. l. washingtoniensis (Audubon, 1827) – Aleutian Is, Alaska and Canada E to Labrador and Nova Scotia, S in USA to Oregon, Utah, C Kansas and Illinois; inland Alaskan and Canadian populations winter from coastal Alaska and Canada S to USA and Mexico.
  • H. l. leucocephalus (Linnaeus, 1766) – S USA (California, Arizona E to Virginia and Florida) S to NW Mexico (Baja California and Sonora).
  • Descriptive notes

    70–96 cm; male 3200–5200 g, female 4000–6200 g; wingspan 180–237 cm (washingtoniensis). Adult dark brown with white head and tail.... read more


    Most highly vocal when breeding, but also calls when in groups outside nesting season. Calls are... read more


    Generally prefers areas fringing water over considerable distance, e.g. coasts, estuaries, riparian... read more

    Food and feeding

    Great variation: carrion (especially in winter), fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and garbage. In summer, largely fish and... read more


    Oct–Apr in S; Apr–Aug in N. Solitary; often aggregated, with small territories (20 ha). Nest location varied, depending on... read more


    In N: many resident on coast, and often large groups in coastal Alaska and British Columbia; inland... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES I. Complex situation: N populations not threatened and locally abundant, e.g. in coastal Alaska and British Columbia; but in... read more

    Recommended citation

    White, C.M., Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 January 2020).