What Is the Difference Between a Golden Eagle and a Bald Eagle?

The biggest differences between golden eagles and bald eagles are the bald eagle's white head, tail and rump. The golden eagle is golden-bronze all over. These eagles are easily mistaken for each other as juveniles, but when they are mature, the differences between them are apparent.

The bald eagle is native to North America. Its range stretches from Alaska down through Canada to Florida and west to Baja California. The golden eagle is more cosmopolitan and can be found in Alaska, northern Canada, the West Coast of the United States, Europe, Asia and some parts of Saharan West Africa.

The habitat the birds prefer is also different. The golden eagle prefers mountains, rocky places, high cliffs and open land. The bald eagle lives near bodies of water, where it can catch salmon, one of its favorite types of prey. It can also be found on rocky and sandy seashores.

The golden eagle prefers to prey on small mammals, such as rabbits. The bald eagle not only eats fish but catches waterfowl such as ducks. It is not above stealing or scavenging food and has been known to harass ospreys until they release their prey.

The golden eagle is also smaller than the bald eagle.