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Eagles: How many kinds are there?

Updated on January 16, 2010
North American Bald Eagle photo/L Godfree
North American Bald Eagle photo/L Godfree

Birds of prey are fascinating birds, said to be direct descendants from the raptors of prehistoric times, the most magnificent of the birds of prey are the eagles. While passing through Boise, Idaho I was drawn to the World Center for Birds of Prey located there. I was amazed to discover many eagles there that I had no idea existed. We all know of the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle but there are other eagles in other parts of the world. So I wonder how many other kinds of Eagles are there in the world?

In fact there are about 59 different species of eagles throughout the world, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They fall into four different groups: the Sea and Fish Eagles, the Snake Eagles, the Harpy Eagles, and the Booted Eagles.

Eagle Eyes are watching you photo/L Godfree
Eagle Eyes are watching you photo/L Godfree

Sea Eagles

This group includes the Bald Eagle, our symbol of American strength. There are 11 species of this kind in the world of eagles that live near water. This type of eagle likes to eat fish and other animals that live in or near the water. Members of this group include the Steller's Sea Eagle, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle, the African Fish Eagle, and the American Bald Eagle.

The experience of seeing a Bald Eagle up close in the habitat in Boise, was very moving. It was easy to understand how this magnificent bird came to be the symbol of our United States. His look is so penetrating that you want to confess your inner thoughts to him.

Harpy Eagles

There are six species that live in the rain forests of South America and the Philippines. These are the biggest of all the eagles; so enormous they can feed on large mammals such as monkeys or tree sloths. Female Harpy Eagles of South America can weigh over 20 pounds and have legs that are as big around as a child's wrist. Among these giants are the Black Solitary Eagle, The Crowned Solitary Eagle, the New Guinea Crested Eagle, and of course the Harpy Eagle

The magnificent bird pictured here is the Harpy Eagle with his halo of feathers and a wise and knowing look in his eyes. To view him was a kind of spiritual experience, very moving. I must say I am now a convert to the restoration and conservation of the birds of prey.

The Harpy Eagle is an endangered species that lives in the rainforests in jungle regions such as Brazil and Panama. They have vanished completely or have been severely depleted from many of their natural habitats. The Harpy Eagle restoration project was started almost 15 years ago at the WorldCenter in Boise.

Harpy Eagle is the biggest of all Eagles photo/L Godfree
Harpy Eagle is the biggest of all Eagles photo/L Godfree

Snake Eagles

There are 12 species of Snake Eagles in the world. These eagles primarily eat snakes, and can occasionally be seen snacking on frogs, lizards, and other reptiles and amphibians. They tend to be small to medium-sized. Where will you find these eagles? Well you find them in places where you find their food, such as forests, deserts, and in the plains. Some of the members of this group include the Crested Serpent Eagle, the Bateleur (shown), and the Brown Snake Eagles.

This third type of amazing eagle posed for pictures as he preened his lovely feathers. His name is Stoffel, and he is a 45 year old Bateleur Eagle from South Africa. His colorful red mask and yellow beak let you know what an exotic creature he really is as he puffs up and separates his feathers for you.

Stoffel, he is a 45 year old Bateleur Eagle from South Africa photo/L Godfree
Stoffel, he is a 45 year old Bateleur Eagle from South Africa photo/L Godfree

Booted Eagles

The Booted Eagles come in varying sizes. Some are almost as large as the Harpy Eagles, and some are smaller than a common crow weighing a little over a pound. They feed on everything from termites and small birds to large mammals such as small deer and carrion, which are animals that are already dead when an eagle finds them (road kill). All Booted Eagles share one characteristic in common, they all have feathers that extend down to their feet like boots. This feature distinguishes them from all other eagles. The Golden Eagle of North America is one of the most common Booted Eagles in the United States, but others include the Bonelli's Eagle, the Ayres' Hawk Eagle, the Imperial Eagle, and the Lesser Spotted Eagle.

World Center for Birds of Prey

To see the eagles and many other birds of prey visit the World Center in Boise, ID. To get to the World Center for Birds of Prey you would take Exit 50 off of Interstate 84 and drive south on South Cole Road approximately 16 miles, turn right at the sign for the center and travel up the steep hill.  At the top you will discover an InterpretiveCenter that houses displays, theaters, habitats for the birds, and interactive exhibits.  There are even daily shows staring live birds so you should arrive early to catch the acts. 

 

Address

5668 West Flying Hawk Lane· BoiseIdaho· 83709 - United States of America
Ph. 208-362-3716, Fax 208-362-2376
Interpretive Center 208-362-8687
E-mail: tpf@peregrinefund.org

Overlooking Boise is The World Center for Birds of Prey photo/L Godfree
Overlooking Boise is The World Center for Birds of Prey photo/L Godfree

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    • juneaukid profile image

      Richard Francis Fleck 7 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      Thank you Lindsay Godfree. This is a fascinating article and your illustrations a very effective. I recall visited our daughter and family in West Nyack NY and seeing an eagle preserve right next to Shoprite! We saw a Bald Eagle leave its nest and swoop down to the Hackensack River to catch a small fish in its claws! We were impressed with this little patch of wild even though we're from the open spaces of Colorado.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 7 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      You put the National Geographic almost to shame with such a grand Hub on some truly beautiful creatures, Lindsay. The eagle is the prince of the skies! No doubt!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This was so interesting to learn about these many different types of eagles and what they rely upon to thrive. Your photos added greatly to this hub. Thanks!

    • profile image

      victoria 7 years ago

      that's soo awesome!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Random 7 years ago

      Omg this is so helpful i am doing this @ SCHOOL right now and i have to right an ssa about it

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi, nice to meet you. This is the first of your hubs I have had the pleasure to read. Excellent information and beautiful photographs. Best wishes.

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      Lindsay, I am lucky enough to live where i see bald eagles every single day and am still in awe of them. I wrote a new hub today about my most recent eagle encounter you might enjoy. Until then thanks for all the eagle information, always good to know more. Great hub. Leah

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love bald eagles. When I was a girl, eagles were in sad decline due to the use of pesticides that ruined their eggs. I used to so want to see one. Now that they have made such a comeback, I know just where to go and be sure to see one!

    • rickyrt44 profile image

      rickyrt44 6 years ago from LOGAN, WEST VIRGINIA

      wow wow wow!!!!! YOUR SUCH A GREAT WRITER LINDSAY. OH MY GOSH YOU ARE ONE OF A KIND BEST HUB I EVER READ. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

    • profile image

      Luba 723 6 years ago

      wow, the eagle is one of the most beautiful creatures that God ever made!

    • profile image

      joe 5 years ago

      what up i really like those kind of fact and i learn a lot about it also i wish 1 day i can see a real eagle

    • profile image

      sidney 5 years ago

      hi i love eagles

    • profile image

      earhtouw 5 years ago

      the eagle is an amazing creature !

    • profile image

      k-wiz. 4 years ago

      While @ wrk I observed a bald eagle chasing a hawk over it meal it looked 2b a fish. This was so amazing I love birds of prey.

    • profile image

      victoria 4 years ago

      I was lucky enough to have seen one of these beautiful creatures in vabch va. Truly magnificent!!

    • profile image

      Clarence 4 years ago

      they are really beautiful birds,magnificent saw a mom with her young ones,i was really lucky.

    • profile image

      Eagleman71 4 years ago

      There are exactly 71 species of eagles in the world. The crested snake eagle has 9 subspecies which do not count with the 71. My extensive detailed research verifies this information. Anyone please feel free to respond.

    • profile image

      shravani 4 years ago

      its just wow!

    • profile image

      unknown 4 years ago

      thanks for providing this that's fantastic

    • Lindsay Godfree profile image
      Author

      Lindsay Godfree 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you all for reading and commenting! I do love eagles and thanks Eagleman for your information. You all take care and keep watching the sky.

    • profile image

      li 4 years ago

      cool

    • profile image

      my_babe_Denzel!! 4 years ago

      great!! just what i needed for my paper!! thx!!

    • profile image

      balwinder singh 3 years ago

      I have a pet eagle and I don't know which specie it belong. It bring daily meat for his. I want to know what can he eat besides meat. I mean to say can it eat fruits. I have some snaps with my pet eagle you can check in my fb account https://www.facebook.com/balwinder.dhaliwal.77

    • profile image

      johnson 3 years ago

      just what i need thanks

    • profile image

      sona 3 years ago

      eagles are the best ! the most amazing bird....................

    • profile image

      randy l 3 years ago

      I just read that there are 59 species of eagles all over the world except antartic not 71.

    • profile image

      03014936866 2 years ago

      i love eagle whole kinds in wprld #IAI

    • profile image

      OM 2 years ago

      Eagles are AWESOME.............

    • profile image

      nadir shah 2 years ago

      Ihave an eagle for sale it is only 5months old chick, more contact.0301 3390565.pakistan. or email. Nadirsha81@hotmail. Com. Thanx lindsy

    • profile image

      shery 2 years ago

      I have a baby of eagle and I want to sail it+923206883148

    • profile image

      Uzmah Ansari 3 months ago

      these all information are superb KEEP IT UP !

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