How Do Eagles Mate ?

With over 60 species of eagles, there are no common breeding patterns shared by all of the species. The two more commonly known types of eagles, golden eagles and bald eagles, have intricate courtship displays. Both eagles are known to mate for life, although bald eagles do sometimes take another mate.

When mature female bald eagles are looking for a mate, they are more docile than normal. Sometimes a bald eagle looking for a mate flies to a great height and dives until almost hitting the ground and then pulls up. When bald eagles are interested in each other, the eagles perch together and groom and stroke one another. Courtship also involves the pair locking talons and going into a free fall. The pair then pull apart before they hit the ground. The actual mating occurs with the male standing on the female’s back; the male twists his body so that their cloacas can touch.

Golden eagle males mate by taking a rock up into the air, dropping it, and then catching it in mid-air. The female then does the same with a clump of Earth or a small stick. This display is only done once in the life of the pair, unlike bald eagles who repeat courtship every year. Golden eagles also sometimes lock talons, like bald eagles, but that behavior is rare. The act of mating occurs in the same fashion as in bald eagles; the male stands on the female and they touch cloacas.