Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
This majestic bird of prey, our national symbol, has a distinctive adult color scheme – white head, white tail, dark brown body, yellow eyes, and a massive yellow beak. As with many other raptors, the female is larger than the male and the sexes look alike. It takes four years for immature birds to develop the characteristic adult plumage pattern, so identifying young birds can be confusing. Juveniles resemble Golden Eagles in being generally brown, but they lack the golden head, and their legs are only feathered halfway to the foot. Immature birds of both species are brown with areas of white; young Golden Eagles have areas of white on the tail and the bast of the flight feathers, while young Bald Eagles show more variable patterns of white speckling. The Bald Eagle has a relatively large head, and long, straight-edged wings; young birds have broader wings and longer tails than adults. This eagle flies with slow, shallow, powerful wing beats, and soars with wings held out flat.