Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Image Location: La Cañada, Ávila, Spain.
Image credit: Juan lacruz via Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.
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
Male: 2.8-4.6 kg (6-10 lb)
Female: 3.6-6.7 kg (8-15 lb)
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
Open landscapes of mountains, plateaus and steppes. Sea level to high elevation. Generally absent from densely populated or agricultural areas.
Least Concern (2016 assessment) (Birdlife International 2016)
Appendix II (UNEP 2018)
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.
Diurnal. Perch much of the day. Hunt, incubate, and build nests.
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
Typically 4-7 years old
Age at fledging
Between 66 and 75 days.
Wild: about 40 years
Managed Care: about 50 years
- 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]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SDZWA Library Links
Fact Sheet Index
Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library
Home page, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library
Email the librarians at email@example.com