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Fast Fact: Bald Eagles

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Bald eagles are our national emblem and national bird, and they are easy to identify with their bright white heads, dark brown bodies and yellow feet and beaks. But did you know bald eagles aren’t born with this trademark look? It actually takes about five years for them to develop their fully white heads and tails. Young eagles have brown bodies, dark heads and mottled brown and white wings.

As they age, their heads gradually turn more white, taking about five years to reach the bright white color they are known for. And their white heads aren’t really bald at all. They are covered in white feathers. They are called bald eagles because in Old English the word "balde" means white.

A bald eagle. (Photo by Chad Merda)


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