There are Four Recognized Groups of Eagles


Four groups of eagles have been recognized by scientists. These groups contain over 60 different kinds (or species) of eagles. In general, the members of each group are alike. The shapes of their bodies may be similar, for instance, or they may eat similar kinds of food. There is also a great deal of variety within each group. Often, there are differences in size. When it comes to the colors and patterns of their feathers, every eagle is beautiful in its own way.

Harpy Eagles are all very large or extremely large birds. They live mainly in forests and prey on large mammals, such as monkeys and tree sloths.

Fish Eagles and Sea Eagles are large or very large birds. There are 10 species, and they all live near water. Some are found near freshwater lakes and streams, while others live close to the ocean. All of them feed mostly on fish and water birds. The American bald eagle is a member of this group.

Snake Eagles are small-to-medium-sized birds. They hunt snakes most of the time, but will eat lizards and frogs. There are 15 species, and they are found in areas where snakes live—in forests and deserts, and on the plains.

Booted Eagles come in many different sizes, from small to large. Unlike other eagles, all the members of this group have feathers on their legs that extend down to the feet like “boots.” There are members of this group living almost everywhere in the world that eagles can live. They live in the Arctic and in tropical forests, in low areas, and in the highest mountains.