Eagles are known for their incredible size, strength, and majesty. These powerful birds of prey can be found in different parts of the world, with various species displaying unique characteristics. In this article, we will explore the top 9 largest eagles in the world and learn about their fascinating features and habitats.

Some of the most renowned eagle species include the harpy eagle and the Steller’s sea eagle, both of which are among the heaviest and most formidable raptors on the planet. In addition to these two species, there are numerous other impressive eagles found across different continents such as Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas.

Discovering the world’s largest eagles will not only give you a deeper appreciation for these awe-inspiring creatures, but it will also provide insight into their unique adaptations and behaviors. As we dive into the details of these colossal raptors, you’ll find that each species has its own captivating story to tell.

Understanding Eagles

Eagles are large birds of prey found in various parts of the world. They belong to the family Accipitridae, which includes other diurnal raptors such as hawks, kites, and harriers. In this section, we will explore the different species and subspecies of eagles, as well as their habitats and distribution.

Species and Subspecies

There are over 60 species of eagles, with most of them found in Eurasia and Africa. Some of the largest and most well-known species include the golden eagle, bald eagle, and harpy eagle. Eagles vary in size, with the larger species like the wedge-tailed eagle being among the world’s biggest.

While all eagles belong to the Accipitridae family, they are spread across several genera. For example, true eagles are part of the genus Aquila, while sea eagles belong to the genus Haliaeetus.

Habitat and Distribution

Eagles can be found in different habitats like forests, rainforests, mountainous regions, and coastal areas across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their choice of habitat often depends on their preferred prey and nesting sites.

  • Forests: Many species of eagles, such as the white-tailed eagle, thrive in forest environments. These eagles hunt small mammals, birds, and fish found in nearby rivers or lakes.

  • Rainforests: The imposing harpy eagle calls the tropical rainforests of Central and South America home. It preys on animals like monkeys and sloths that dwell in the dense canopy.

  • Mountainous Regions: Mountainous habitats are home to species like the golden eagle, which can be seen soaring high above the peaks in search of prey, such as rabbits and marmots.

  • Coastal Areas: Coastal regions provide suitable habitats for species like the bald eagle, which relies on abundant fish populations for sustenance.

Eagles typically have large territories, which they fiercely defend from rival birds. Understanding their habitat and distribution helps us appreciate these majestic creatures and contributes to the ongoing efforts in their conservation.

Characteristics of the Largest Eagles

Size and Weight

The nine largest eagles in the world can vary greatly in size and weight. The harpy eagle, for example, is considered one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey, with females being significantly larger than males. The largest subspecies of the golden eagle is also notable for its size, with females weighing up to 37% more than the males 1. Similarly, the wedge-tailed eagle boasts impressive size, with females being among the world’s largest eagles 2.

  • Harpy eagle:
    • Female weight: up to 20 lbs (9 kg)
    • Male weight: up to 11 lbs (5 kg)
  • Golden eagle:
    • Female weight: up to 14.3 lbs (6.5 kg)
    • Male weight: up to 8.8 lbs (4 kg)
  • Wedge-tailed eagle:
    • Female weight: up to 13.2 lbs (6 kg)
    • Male weight: up to 8.8 lbs (4 kg)

Wingspan and Flight

The wingspan of an eagle has a significant impact on its flight capabilities. For the largest eagles, such as the harpy eagle, golden eagle, and wedge-tailed eagle, wingspans can span across impressive lengths. For example, the golden eagle exhibits the fifth largest wingspan among living eagle species, while the wedge-tailed eagle has an equally impressive wingspan that allows for agile and powerful flight 3.

Species Wingspan Range
Harpy eagle 5.9 – 7.4 ft (1.8 – 2.2 meters)
Golden eagle 6 – 7.8 ft (1.8 – 2.4 meters)
Wedge-tailed eagle 6.2 – 9.2 ft (1.9 – 2.8 meters)

These eagles’ large wingspans allow them to display incredible agility and control during flight. Despite their size and mass, they can perform aerial acrobatics such as diving at high speeds to hunt their prey and effortlessly soaring over long distances. Their powerful wings and strong talons enable them to snatch prey from the ground or mid-air with great precision, securing their status as some of the world’s most formidable hunters in the skies.

Top 9 Largest Eagles in the World

In this section, we will explore a list of the top 9 largest eagles in the world, discussing their habitats, features, and sizes.

Steller’s Sea Eagle

The Steller’s Sea Eagle is one of the most impressive birds of prey found in Russia and northeastern Asia. Females can weigh between 6.2 to 9.5 kg (14 to 21 lb), while males range from 4.9 to 6.8 kg (11 to 15 lb). With their striking appearance and size, Steller’s Sea Eagles are known as powerful hunters.

Philippine Eagle

Known as the national bird of the Philippines, the Philippine Eagle is considered one of the largest and most powerful eagles in the world. This majestic bird can be found in the tropical rainforests of the Philippines and is a symbol of the nation’s rich biodiversity.

Harpy Eagle

The Harpy Eagle is native to Central and South America. As the largest and most powerful bird of prey found in its range, the Harpy Eagle is known for its incredible hunting abilities and impressive size. They can be found in the lush forests of South America.

African Crowned Eagle

The African Crowned Eagle, native to Sub-Saharan Africa, is known for its striking appearance and impressive size. This bird of prey is particularly adapted to hunting in dense forests and is considered one of the most powerful eagles in Africa.

American Bald Eagle

The American Bald Eagle is a symbol of the United States and is known for its strong presence and impressive size. Found in North America, the Bald Eagle is often seen near large bodies of water which support their main prey, fish.

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

The Wedge-Tailed Eagle is native to Australia and is one of the greatest birds of prey in the world due to its sheer size. Female Wedge-Tailed Eagles are particularly large compared to their male counterparts.

Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle, a bird of prey found across Eurasia, is known for its exceptional hunting abilities and sizable wingspan. With a range that extends from Greenland to northeast Asia, this majestic eagle is a powerful hunter.

White-Tailed Sea Eagle

The White-Tailed Sea Eagle is a large bird of prey that resides in parts of Eurasia, Greenland, and northeastern Asia. As one of the largest extant species of eagles, the White-Tailed Sea Eagle is an imposing presence and a skilled hunter.

Martial Eagle

Lastly, the Martial Eagle, native to Sub-Saharan Africa, is a powerful hunter in its own right. With a wingspan reaching up to 260 cm (8.53 ft), the Martial Eagle is one of Africa’s largest and most impressive birds of prey.

Conservation: Challenges and Efforts

Threats to Eagle Populations

Eagles, being one of the most striking and powerful birds in the world, are facing various challenges that pose threats to their populations. One of the main threats that eagles face is habitat loss due to deforestation and urbanization. This leads to a reduction in their natural environment, making it harder for them to hunt and breed.

Another threat is illegal hunting and poaching. Some eagles are killed for their feathers, which are then used in the illegal trade of animal parts. Additionally, pesticide use and environmental pollution can have detrimental effects on the eagle’s reproductive systems, leading to a decline in their numbers. Lastly, competition with other large predators for food sources also contributes to population decline.

Protection and Rehabilitation

Though many species of eagles are facing challenges in the wild, numerous conservation efforts and rehabilitation programs are in place to protect and restore their populations. Many eagles are listed under various categories depending on their conservation status, such as endangered, vulnerable, near threatened, or least concern. Organizations monitor the status of different eagle species and create conservation strategies to help them thrive.

Awareness campaigns and education programs have been pivotal in raising public awareness on the plight of eagles and their importance in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Additionally, governments around the world have implemented varying degrees of legal protections for eagles. For example, the golden eagle has seen a decline in population in some regions but is now benefiting from conservation measures implemented to protect its population.

In cases where eagles are injured or found in distress, rehabilitation centers help in providing medical care and support until they are fit for release back into the wild. Captive breeding programs have also played a crucial role in increasing the numbers of critically endangered species, such as the Philippine eagle.

Conservation of eagles is a collective effort, and with the proper measures in place, these majestic birds can continue to be a vital component of their ecosystems and a source of awe and inspiration for generations to come.


  1. Harpy eagle – Wikipedia

  2. Wedge-tailed eagle – Wikipedia

  3. Golden eagle – Wikipedia

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