2 Types of Eagles in New York

Types of Eagles in New York
Photo by 13597064 on Pixabay

New York is a state known for its diverse landscapes, from bustling cities to rugged mountains and rolling hills, and there are types of eagles in New York too.

In New York, two species of eagles can be found: the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle.

This article will explore the physical characteristics, habitats, diets, reproduction and life cycles, and conservation efforts of these magnificent birds in New York.

1. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle - Largest Birds in North America
by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey native to North America and is the national bird and symbol of the United States.

Bald Eagles are known for their distinctive white head, yellow beak, and large size, reaching up to three feet long and having a wingspan of up to seven feet.

Physical Characteristics

These physical characteristics make Bald Eagles highly adapted to their role as predators and help them to thrive in their habitats throughout New York.

These types of eagles in New York  are large birds of prey with distinctive physical characteristics that make them easily recognizable:

  1. Size: Bald Eagles can reach up to three feet in length and have a wingspan of up to seven feet, making them one of North America‘s largest birds of prey.
  2. Coloration: Bald Eagles are known for their white head and tail, contrasting their dark brown body and wings. Juvenile Bald Eagles have dark brown feathers, which turn white as they mature.
  3. Beak: Bald Eagles have a large, hooked yellow beak ideal for tearing apart their prey.
  4. Talons: Bald Eagles have strong, sharp talons for grasping and holding onto prey.
  5. Vision: Bald Eagles have excellent eyesight, which allows them to spot prey from high in the air and swoop down to catch it.


These types of eagles in New York are most commonly seen in areas near bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, and coastal regions. 

Some of the key habitats for Bald Eagles in New York include:

  1. Adirondack Mountains: The Adirondacks provide diverse habitats for Bald Eagles, from the high peaks and remote wilderness areas to the extensive waterways and wetlands in the region.
  2. Hudson River Valley: The Hudson River Valley is home to a large population of Bald Eagles and provides important nesting, roosting, and feeding habitats for these birds.
  3. Long Island: Long Island is an important coastal habitat for Bald Eagles and is home to one of the largest populations of these birds in New York.
  4. Lake Ontario: Lake Ontario provides crucial habitats for Bald Eagles and is a critical wintering area for these birds.


Also, these types of eagles in New York are opportunistic birds that can adapt to a wide range of habitats and can be found throughout New York.

The state is an important habitat for these birds and provides important nesting, roosting, and feeding sites for this iconic species.

The diet of Bald Eagles in New York primarily consists of fish, but they are also known to hunt waterfowl, small mammals, and carrion. 


Bald eagles in New York primarily breed in large, mature forests near water sources, such as lakes, rivers, and coastal areas.

They build their nests in tall trees, often near the top of the tree, using sticks and branches. 

During the breeding season, the female eagle lays one to three eggs, which the male and female incubate for approximately 35 days.

Once the eggs hatch, the eaglets grow rapidly and are ready to leave the nest after 10 to 12 weeks.

2. Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle - Types of Hawks in Pennsylvania
by Jon David Nelson is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The golden eagle is a large bird of prey native to the northern hemisphere.

It is characterized by its distinctive golden-brown plumage and impressive wingspan, which can reach over 6 feet.

In New York, the golden eagle is considered a significant species due to its historical presence and current status as a rare but still resident bird of prey. 

Physical Appearance

The golden eagle is a large bird of prey with a distinct appearance, characterized by its golden-brown feathers on the back and neck and dark brown feathers on the head, tail, and wings. 

The golden eagle is typically around 32 to 37 inches long, with a 6 7- feet wingspan.

These types of eagles in New York are known for their powerful and broad wings, sharp talons, and strong beak, which they use to hunt and capture prey.


In New York, golden eagles can be found in remote, rural areas with abundant prey and limited human disturbance.

They typically inhabit mountainous regions, forests, and grasslands and are known to roost in large trees and on cliffs.

However, their populations in New York are not as abundant as they once were and are considered a rare sight in the state.

These types of eagles in New York are commonly found in western North America, including parts of Canada and the United States, and in northern and central Mexico.

The mountainous and rugged regions of the West provide the open spaces and cliffs that golden eagles prefer for nesting and hunting.

The golden eagle is considered a rare visitor in New York, with only occasional sightings reported.

Their preferred habitat, open spaces, and high elevations are uncommon in the state.

The lack of suitable habitat and prey may be limiting factors for golden eagles in New York.


Golden eagles in New York primarily feed on small mammals such as ground squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and carrion.

They hunt by diving down on their prey from the air and grabbing it with their sharp talons. They have also been known to scavenge food from other predators. 

During winter, they may switch to feeding more on carrion as prey becomes more scarce.

Golden eagles are known for their exceptional eyesight and acute sense of hearing, which they use to locate prey from high in the sky.


Golden Eagles are known to mate for life, and their breeding season typically takes place from January to April.

During this time, they build a large nest of sticks and other materials on a cliff or tree.

The female typically lays 1 to 4 eggs, and both parents participate in incubation and caring for the young.

The chicks, or eaglets, hatch after about 43 days and are fed by the parents until they are ready to fledge or leave the nest at around 12 weeks.

After fledging, the young birds may continue to be fed by their parents for several more weeks before they are able to hunt on their own.


The two types of eagles in New York are the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle.

Both species are protected by law and are considered a symbol of freedom and strength.

The Bald Eagle, once endangered, has made a remarkable comeback and can now be seen in many areas throughout the state. 

On the other hand, Golden Eagles are rarer visitors to New York but are still an important part of the state’s ecosystem.

The state’s Conservation and protection efforts and a healthy environment have helped both species thrive.

Further efforts are necessary to maintain the delicate balance and ensure their continued survival for generations to come.

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