Can Eagles Catch Fish?

Can Eagles Catch Fish
by The Back Road Photographer is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When you think of eagles, their impressive hunting abilities come to mind, especially their skill in catching fish.

The majestic bald eagle, one of nature’s largest raptors, boasts a wingspan of up to eight feet and employs various techniques to catch fish from their aquatic habitats.

As an opportunistic feeder, the bald eagle hunts for what is readily available, including fish, birds, reptiles, rabbits, and muskrats.

They are known for their impressive aerial hunting technique, where they watch the water surface from a perch or while soaring in the air, then swoop down close to the water and extend their feet to grab the unsuspecting prey.

Additionally, eagles have been known to steal prey from other birds, displaying their adaptability and resourcefulness in obtaining food.

Although it may be surprising, bald eagles can indeed swim. After catching a large fish, the eagle sometimes continues to grip the fish with its talons while gracefully swimming to shore.

This impressive ability further showcases the eagle’s versatility and determination when it comes to catching and securing their prey.

Can Eagles Catch Fish?

Can Eagles Catch Fish
Photo by cocoparisienne on Pixabay

Yes, eagles, particularly bald eagles, are known to catch fish, which make up around 70 to 90 percent of their diet.

As an opportunistic feeder, a bald eagle will choose its prey based on availability and the least amount of energy required to catch it.

This means that in addition to fish, they also feed on birds, reptiles, rabbits, and muskrats.

When catching fish, eagles showcase their speed and precision. They are known to dive into the water and grab fish using their sharp talons.

Sometimes, they may catch fish too large to lift, so they instead use their talons to keep a grip on the fish while swimming back to shore.

Eagles are not limited to live prey. They are also known to feed on carrion and scavenge for food in garbage dumps when necessary.

However, conservation efforts have significantly increased the population of eagles in the U.S., reducing their reliance on such food sources.

While bald eagles primarily feed on fish, other species of eagles, such as golden eagles, may target different prey, like mammals.

Regardless of their chosen prey, eagles are skilled hunters and an essential part of the ecosystem.

As top predators, they help control the populations of other animals and maintain a healthy balance within their habitats.

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