Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Status: Protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940
Listed: Threatened; March 11, 1967
Delisted: July 9, 2007
For questions regarding the Bald Eagle in Arkansas, please contact Rebecca Peak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 501-513-4475.
The bald eagle is the second-largest North American bird of prey with an average 7-foot wingspan. It has a dark brown body and wings, and adults (3+ years) have a distinctive white head and white tail. Sexes appear similar, although females are larger.
Bald eagles ae opportunistic foragers and diet varies across the range based on prey species available. They prefer fish, but will eat a variety of mammas, amphibians, crustaceans, and birds.
Bald eagles are monogamous and thought to mate for life unless one mate dies. Bald eagles build large stick nests lined with soft materials measuring up to 6 feet across and may weigh hundreds of pounds. Nests are used for several years by the same pair of eagles. The average clutch size is 2 eggs. Young eagles can fly in 11 to 12 weeks, but the parents continue to feed them for 4 to 6 weeks while they learn to hunt. Bald eagles have lived up to 36 years in captivity.
The bald eagle is associated with aquatic habitats (coastal areas, river, lakes, and reservoirs) with forested shorelines or cliffs in North America. Throughout their range, they select large, super-canopy roost trees that are open and accessible, usually conifers. They winter primarily in coastal estuaries and river systems.
Why is it protected?
The bald eagle was first listed after habitat destruction and degredation, illegal shooting, and contamination of food sources by DDT and lead decimated the population. Loss of nesting and foraging habitat is still a current threat.
The bald eagle is an Endangered Species Act success story. Habitat protection, the banning of DDT, and public conservation efforts have all helped the bald eagle to make a remarkable recovery. Bald eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007 because populations recovered sufficiently. Bald and Golden eagles are still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which both prohibit the taking, killing, possession, transportation, and importation of any bald eagle, including any part, nest, or egg. Learn more about Federal Laws that protect Bald Eagles.
Range in Arkansas:
The Bald Eagle can be found in any county in Arkansas.