Q:

What do bald eagles eat?

A:

Quick Answer

The bald eagle's diet consists primarily of fish, though it can and will find other sources of food when fish is scarce. In fact, supplementing fish with other sources of food is an important part of a bald eagle's overall health. Small mammals, crustaceans and other small sea creatures are secondary sources of food for bald eagles.

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What do bald eagles eat?
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Full Answer

Much like with humans, having a varied diet is important for a bald eagle to maintain its health. For example, an eagle can fully digest the small bones of a fish easily, but the bones of a mammal like a rabbit or mouse cannot pass through its digestive system. These bones are stored in a pouch in the eagle's throat until enough have accumulated that they form a small, hard pellet. The eagle then regurgitates this pellet. The act of regurgitation plays an important function in maintaining the health of the eagle's digestive system.

Bald eagles catch most of their prey themselves, but they have also been known to feed opportunistically on carrion. There is even evidence of eagles descending on the carcasses of animals that are being transported by hunters, or even taking food out of dumpsters and other outside garbage cans.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why are bald eagles endangered?

    A:

    Bald eagles are endangered because humans have contaminated the bald eagle's food through poisonous chemicals such as DDT, destroyed their habitat areas and shot them illegally. The bald eagle is the national symbol for the United States, so the American government decided to enact the Endangered Species Act to protect the bird.

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  • Q:

    How long do bald eagles live?

    A:

    Bald eagles live approximately 20 to 30 years in the wild and can survive even longer in captivity. As apex predators, they have no predators aside from man. Wild bald eagles are vulnerable to human-made chemical pollutants, which are responsible for reducing their average lifespan and overall population.

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  • Q:

    How do bald eagles communicate?

    A:

    Bald eagles, or Haliaeetus leucocephalus, communicate with their mates and against rivals though vocal calls such as chatters, wails and peals, as well as with visual displays such as complex flying routines, head movements, wing flaps and crouching. Chatters sound like small "kwit kwit" noises, while a peal is a long, shrieking cry.

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  • Q:

    What are some adaptations that bald eagles have?

    A:

    Bald eagles have several adaptations that allow them to be superior, such as excellent eyesight with frontal settings that provide them with binocular and peripheral vision, strong, hooked beaks that can easily tear apart tissues and powerful talons that are used for capturing prey. Bald eagles are also known for being able to reach incredible speeds that are up to 30 miles per hour when flying and up to 100 miles per hour when diving for prey. Their excellent vision allows them to easily identify prey that may be up to 1 mile away.

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