All Bird Species
Eagles in Illinois

2 Types of Eagles in Illinois (ID Guide With Pictures)

Eagles in Illinois command attention with their majestic presence. Also, These formidable birds boast wingspans larger than adult humans and stand as tall as children. With their remarkable vision, they gracefully scout for food high in the sky. Witnessing eagles hunt leaves an indelible impression, especially when they plunge from the heavens to seize sizable prey. Among the USA’s four eagle species, Illinois hosts the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle. Join me in exploring where to spot these magnificent creatures and delve into their Prairie State habitat.

Here we’ll learn about 2 different types of Eagles in Illinois 

1. Bald Eagle

  • Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  • Life span: 20-30 years
  • Size: 2.5 to 3 feet
  • Weight: 6.6 to 13,8 lbs
  • Wingspan: 66 to 96 in
  • Status: Least Concern

The Bald Eagle is the special bird of the United States and our national symbol. It flies high and amazingly catches food, but it also eats dead animals and sometimes takes food from other birds. In the past, it had a hard time and almost disappeared, but now it’s doing much better and is found all over the country.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles live near water in every part of the United States, from Alaska to Northern Mexico and most of Canada. They have dark brown feathers all over their bodies, but their heads and tails are white, and they have yellow beaks. They’re called “bald” not because they’re missing feathers on their heads, but because of an old word that means “two-colored.”


Bald Eagles become adults when they’re 4-5 years old. After leaving their birth nest for a few years, they come back to find a partner. Once they find a mate, they stick with them for life. Their way of getting together is like a dance in the sky, with lots of calls, dives, and fancy flying moves. They even grab each other’s talons and fall towards the ground before letting go, like they’re doing a thrilling aerial routine together.


These bald eagles in Illinois eat whatever food they can find, but they really like fish the most. A study looked at where bald eagles live and what they eat. It found that more than half of what they eat is fish. They also eat birds, mammals, and other things, but not as much. When there isn’t much food around, bald eagles will look for animals that other animals have already caught and eat those.

2. Golden Eagle

  • Scientific name: Aquila chrysaetos
  • Life span: 30 years
  • Size: 33 inches (83 cm)
  • Weight: 6.4 to 13.2 lb (2.9 to 6 kg)
  • Wingspan: 70 to 90 in (180 to 230 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern

The Golden Eagle is a big and amazing bird that lives in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, like America, Europe, and Asia. They’re mostly a dark gold-brown color, which is why they’re called “golden.”

Golden Eagle

When they fly, they often hold their wings in a slight V-shape. They like to hunt small mammals in faraway, open places, like grasslands, mountains, and wide open spaces.

The Golden Eagle is special to many Native American groups. They respected it a lot for being brave and strong. People who had feathers from the eagle were thought to be blessed by its power.

Check Our Previous Articles:

Eagles in Georgia
 Eagles in Texas
Eagles in North Carolina
Eagles in California


Golden Eagles, like Bald Eagles, stay with the same partner for their whole lives. They also have a similar way of showing love, by doing fancy tricks in the air together. The male eagle might pick up a rock or stick while flying, drop it, and then catch it again. The female does a similar trick with a clump of dirt or earth.

Around April, Golden Eagles start looking for a place to build their nests. They often choose cliffs as their homes. Sometimes they make more than one nest, and they use them again and again every year. Their nests are big and made of sticks, with soft grass and other natural things inside.


Unlike the Bald Eagle, the Golden Eagle likes to hunt near the ground and only eats meat. It sits up high, keeping an eye out for food. When it sees something tasty, like rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, or marmots, it swoops down from above. Its sudden appearance scares the animals out of hiding, making them easy targets for the eagle to catch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What kind of eagles are in Illinois?

Bald eagles and occasionally Golden eagles can be found in Illinois.

Q2. Where can I see eagles in Illinois?

You can see eagles near rivers and lakes, especially in places like Starved Rock State Park and along the Mississippi River.

Q3. How rare is it to see a bald eagle in Illinois?

It’s not very rare to see bald eagles in Illinois, especially during the winter months when they migrate to the state in larger numbers.

Q4. Does Chicago have Eagles?

Yes, bald eagles have been spotted in Chicago, particularly along the lakeshore and near rivers.

John William

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