How Long Do American Bald Eagles Live?

••• Wikimedia Commons

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) lives an average of 20 to 30 years. According to the Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest bald eagle known lived to be 47 years old. That was a captive bald eagle. However, in the wild, bald eagles do not often live out their full lifespan as they face many threats.

Banded Eagles

Banded wild bald eagles usually die before they turn 30, but a 31-year-old banded female corpse was discovered in Wisconsin on May 16, 2008 (see Resources).

Mortality

According to the American Bald Eagle Foundation, fewer than 10 percent of bald eaglets survive until sexual maturity. Most bald eagles die in their first year of life, usually from starvation.

Sexual Maturity

Bald eagles do not reach sexual maturity until they are about four or five years old. It is at this stage that they get their characteristic all-white heads.

Common Threats

Adult bald eagles are often killed by colliding with moving vehicles, getting killed by other eagles or being electrocuted by power lines.

Uncommon Threats

Bald eagles eggs are targeted by crows, ravens, gulls and squirrels. Although a protected species, they are still shot and poisoned by people.

References

About the Author

Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.

Photo Credits

  • Wikimedia Commons

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