How Do Bald Eagles Communicate?

Bald eagles, or Haliaeetus leucocephalus, communicate with their mates and against rivals though vocal calls such as chatters, wails and peals, as well as with visual displays such as complex flying routines, head movements, wing flaps and crouching. Chatters sound like small “kwit kwit” noises, while a peal is a long, shrieking cry.

Eagles usually communicate through a series of high-pitched chirps, whistles and chatters. Mated pairs vocalize to each other when they return to the nest and fly high in the air with stylized displays. Bald eagles use menacing head, wing and body motions when they feel threatened, often posturing and making attack-like moves, when they compete for food.

Bald eagles live near large lakes and hunt fish for food, although they also prey upon other birds. They migrate from northern latitudes, where the eagles nest during the summer, to middle latitudes, where winters are warmer. In winter months, bald eagles eat small mammals or scavenge when other food is scarce.

These predatory birds are solitary creatures who mate for life. Pairs of eagles have one to three eggs per year, and hatchlings are cared for by both parents up to 14 weeks. Bald eagles reach sexual maturity at 5 years old and live up to 30 years.