Bald Eagle Size Comparison & Wingspan: How Do they Compare to Humans?

Written by Megan Martin
Updated: December 27, 2021
Image Credit Dennis W Donohue/Shutterstock.com
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bald eagle size comparison to golden eagle owl turkey vulture  and human
Bald eagles can be as large as three feet tall!

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Chances are, you can easily recognize the bald eagle. After all, how many other birds can you think of with those iconic brown feathers and white heads? However, when it comes down to a bald eagle size comparison, do you know just how big these birds of prey are?

Keep reading, because you may just be surprised!

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What Size is a Bald Eagle?

Largest Birds of Prey - Bald Eagle
A bald eagle’s wingspan can be larger than an adult human

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One thing that people are most surprised about when they see a bald eagle in person for the first time? Their size.

Female bald eagles are larger than their male counterparts and usually grow to weigh up to 14 pounds. That’s just a few pounds heavier than a gallon of paint and around three times as heavy as your average Chihuahua. They can also have a wingspan up to 8 feet wide – that’s two feet longer than a queen bed from head to foot!

Males are slightly smaller, reaching an average maximum size of 10 pounds with a 6.6-foot wingspan.

The largest bald eagles can be found in Alaska, where they’ve been recorded to weigh over 15 pounds! That’s as heavy as a bowling ball used by an average adult male.

Height-wise, bald eagles can be as tall as three feet.

There’s no doubt that bald eagles are large birds. But, when it comes to humans and other common bird species, just how big is the bald eagle in comparisond?

Human Versus Bald Eagle Size Comparison

bald eagle size comparison to golden eagle owl turkey vulture  and human
Bald eagles are nearly waist level with humans!

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At three feet tall, the average bald eagle is nearly waist level with your average human – an impressing thought to start off with. After all, could you imagine wandering the forest and a bird nearly the size of a three-year-old standing in front of you?

Their wingspan, however, can easily be much larger than a human, especially a female’s. In fact, their wingspan is nearly eagle with the height of the tallest person alive. However, in the United States where the average male height is 5.6 feet, even the male bald eagle’s wingspan can be one foot longer – which is about the same as Subway sub worth of difference.

While they may look small in pictures, a bald eagle’s feet are actually around the same size as a human’s hand. In fact, some bald eagles can actually wrap their talons around a human fist! This is important as their feet and talon allow them to catch their prey – and birds this big need a lot of nutrients!

Bald Eagle Versus Golden Eagle

Largest Eagles in the World: Golden Eagle
Golden eagles are related to bald eagles but not the same – though both are some of the largest birds of prey.

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At a glance, golden eagles and bald eagles may seem similar in everything except color. However, between these two birds, there are actually some big differences.

Take their wingspans for example.

The golden eagle has a wingspan of anywhere from 5.9 to 7.7 feet. The female bald eagle is able to top this by several inches, with males only around a foot smaller than the largest golden eagle’s wingspan.

When it comes to weight, however, both eagles tend to balance the scale. Golden eagles weigh up to 15 pounds, which is around the same weight as some larger vacuums. This is only a pound larger than most female bald eagles, although bald eagles have been recorded at weights over 15 pounds as well, making this comparison a near-perfect tie.

Outside of wingspan, the bald eagle and the golden eagle tend to see eye to eye, especially when the common variations in size for each species are taken into account.

Bald Eagle Versus Turkey Vulture

Large Turkey Vulture perched on rock
Despite their large size, turkey vultures only weigh around 3 pounds!

If you’ve been hiking within the past year, you may be familiar with the signs saying “stay one turkey vulture apart”. This is due to their massive wingspan of 6 feet from tip to tip. However, even as large as the turkey vulture is, they’re still smaller than the bald eagle – nearly an entire foot shorter in terms of wingspan!

Turkey vultures are designed to coast the thermals (that’s hot air that moves upwards) rather than actively flapping. As a result, they only weigh 2-5 pounds despite their large size of 2 and a half feet tall. That’s the same weight as a large bottle of ketchup, way less than the gallon of paint that is the bald eagle.

Height-wise, these two birds almost see eye to eye. At their tallest, turkey vultures are only around half a foot shorter than the bald eagle. That’s around the same size as the average chef’s knife.

Bald Eagle Versus Owl

small burrowing owl perched on small branch with leaves
There are over 250 species of owl with various shapes and sizes.

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With over 250 species of owls, a true bald eagle size comparison can be a bit difficult – especially when you have owls as small as 6 inches and half a pound or as large as 28 inches and nearly 9 pounds! However, compared to even the largest of owls, it seems that the bald eagle tends to come out on top in nearly every comparison.

The smallest owl species is the rare elf owl, which is as little as 6 inches tall and weighs half a pound. That’s around the same height and weight as a stack of 220 United State one-dollar bills. Compared to the giant bird of prey that is the bald eagle, the elf owl doesn’t stand a chance at balancing the scale. In fact, it would take nearly thirty elf owls to weigh the same as one bald eagle.

The largest owl, however, is the Blakiston’s fish owl. Weighing a maximum of 8.8 pounds, the Blakiston’s fish owl is about half the size of the bald eagle. Their wingspan can grow to be around 6 feet wide, and they can be as tall as 28 inches.

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