Did you know eagles could be small enough to hold in your hands? How about large enough that their wingspans rival the heights of top athletes? This eagle size comparison will show you just how big (or small) some species of eagles are.
However, even with an eagle size comparison, it can be difficult to know just what size they are. After all, how big is 3 feet if you don’t have a measuring tape on hand? Not only will we teach you everything you need to know about the size of four popular eagle species – but we’ll do it in comparison to everyday objects to help you wrap your head around just how big eagles are!
How Big are Eagles?
While eagles aren’t the largest birds of prey – that title goes to the condor – they definitely come close!
Found almost everywhere in the world, eagles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes, two eagles are so different that you won’t even be able to tell that they’re the same type of animal!
Eagles can range anywhere from the size of a South Nicobar serpent eagle, which is 16 inches tall and weigh only 1 pound (the same as a loaf of bread), to the harpy eagle, which can grow to be 40 inches tall and weigh 20 pounds (the same as a stand mixer).
Judging by wingspan, the world’s largest eagles can reach more than 8 feet, which is a greater length than all but the tallest humans ever to live!
With such a diverse group of birds, it can be hard to get an idea of just how big different eagles are. This eagle size comparison will introduce some of the most common eagles around while also providing all the details you need to see how big some of the biggest birds of prey are compared to each other and even you!
Bald Eagle Size
Bald eagles aren’t the largest eagles around, but they’re not small by any means!
These large birds of prey can grow to weigh up to 14 pounds with a body length of around 36 inches inches. However, their claim to fame (other than their iconic title as a national symbol) is their wingspan, which can be as large as almost 8 feet from tip to tip.
That’s among the largest eagle wingspans in the world!
Male bald eagles are slightly smaller than their female counterparts. Males tend not to weigh more than around 10 pounds, and their wingspans won’t get much larger than 6 feet.
Golden Eagle Size
The golden eagle is very similar to the bald eagle.
First, they both reach maximum weights of around 14 pounds. Female golden eagles, however, can reach 15 pounds and, in rare instances, can weigh even more. Their wingspans range anywhere from 5.9 to 7.7 feet – that’s taller than André the Giant!
However, when it comes to talons, the golden eagle has one up on the bald eagle. Their talons can grow to be 2.5 inches long. That’s also larger than many other big predators, like mountain lions!
In 2017, a particularly large female golden eagle was banded and released in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. Weighing in at 17 pounds, she’s officially the largest golden eagle ever recorded in the wild.
Harpy Eagle Size
When it comes to weight, harpy eagles are tied with Steller’s sea eagles for the title of largest eagles around!
With females being larger than males, these giant birds can grow to be as tall as 40 inches, the same half a queen size bed or the average human 4-year-old. They can also weigh up to 20 pounds, with males reaching up to 11 pounds, the same as a gallon of paint.
Despite their large size, though, harpy eagles have relatively short wingspans compared to other big birds of prey. This allows them to easily navigate their habitats in canopies of the rainforest of Central and South America. Their wingspan usually only grows to 6.5 feet – which is still taller than many adult humans!
Harpy eagles also have massive talons that are larger than those of many other eagles. Their talons can grow to be up to four inches long. That’s the same as many other large predators like grizzly bears, polar bears, and tigers. It also means that the harpy eagle’s talons alone are around the same length as a human finger.
Philippine Eagle Size
These eagles aren’t known as the giant Philippine eagle for nothing.
While the harpy eagle may be the largest eagle in terms of weight, the Philippine eagle is the largest according to length and wingspan. These giant birds of prey can weigh up to 18 pounds and grow to be 3 feet in height.
A Philippine eagle’s wingspan can be as wide as 7’3”. For reference, that’s larger than Shaquille O’Neal. And their talons can grow to similar lengths as the harpy eagle!
Philippine eagles are also critically endangered, with only around 400 wild pairs left in their small habitat of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao in the Philippines. Due to their large size, Philippine eagles need thousands of hectares – in fact, a breeding pair will need a minimum of nearly 7,500 football fields in order to thrive. As a result, deforestation is the leading cause of their population decline.
Human Versus Eagle Size Comparison
When it comes to meeting eye to eye, you won’t need to worry about that with any of the eagles around today. However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t boast impressive sizes compared to humans.
Take the bald eagle for example. With a maximum wingspan of 8 feet, their wings alone can be nearly 3 feet longer than the average human being. They also weigh more than many newborn babies at their smallest full-grown size – and they’re not even the biggest eagle on this list!
The Philippine eagle weighs around the same as a healthy one-year-old baby, though its wingspan rivals the height of Shaquille O’Neal.
Even when it comes down to hands – or feet and talons – many eagles match the size of humans. Some species, such as the harpy eagle, even have talons longer than many human fingers.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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