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Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet: Summary

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet

Golden eagle in flight

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Image Location: La Cañada, Ávila, Spain.
Image credit: Juan lacruz via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.


Taxonomy Physical Characteristics

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves — birds

Order: Accipitriformes — raptors

Family: Accipitridae — eagles, hawks, kites

Genus: Aquila — golden eagles

Species: Aquila chrysaetos — Golden Eagle

Subspecies: A. c. canadensis — only subspecies in North America

Subspecies: A. c. chrysaetos — Europe and Asia

Subspecies: A. c. kamtschatica — northeast Asia (a possible subspecies)

Subspecies: A. c. homeyeri — Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, islands in Mediterranean, certain areas of the Middle East

Subspecies: A. c. daphanea — Iran to central China

Subspecies: A. c. japonica — Korea and Japan

Body Weight
Male: 2.8-4.6 kg (6-10 lb)
Female: 3.6-6.7 kg (8-15 lb)

Body Length
75-90 cm (2.5-3 ft)

190-227 cm (6.2-7.5 ft)

Dark brown with pale yellow or tawny on back and head

Distribution & Status Behavior & Ecology

Northern Hemisphere

Open landscapes of mountains, plateaus and steppes. Sea level to high elevation. Generally absent from densely populated or agricultural areas.

IUCN Status
Least Concern (2016 assessment) (Birdlife International 2016)

CITES Status
Appendix II (UNEP 2018)

Other Designations
Protected in the U.S. under The Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Population in Wild
Approximately 300,000, worldwide

Aerobatic flyer. Glide and soar; able to make steep dives. Walk and hop.

Activity Cycle
Diurnal. Perch much of the day. Hunt, incubate, and build nests.

Social Groups
Largely solitary, except for breeding birds. May roost or bathe in groups. Immature birds may associate with each other.

Carrion, medium-sized mammals (mustelids, foxes, cats, young of large mammals), birds, less often reptiles.

Humans; no natural predators.

Reproduction & Development Species Highlights

Sexual Maturity
Typically 4-7 years old

Clutch size
1-3 eggs

Incubation period
43-45 days

Age at fledging
Between 66 and 75 days.

Typical Life Expectancy
Wild populations: Variable; 11–13 years in California, 11–40 years in Europe.
Managed care: no AZA estimates

Feature Facts

  • Is the national bird of Mexico, Albania, Germany, Austrian, and Kazakhstan.
  • Formerly occurred in the Appalachian mountains of eastern U.S.
  • Adult females are larger than males
  • Play behavior observed; often mock hunting or fighting
  • Can swim, if necessary
  • In winter and early spring, defend territories with undulating "sky dance"
  • Sometimes hit by wind turbines.
  • Parents use their bodies to insulate chicks from extreme temperatures

About This Fact Sheet

© 2011-2018 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Population Status update 2016. Minor update to taxonomy Sep 2018.


How to cite: Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet. c2011-2018. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. goldeneagle.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)


Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to

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