Eagles are large birds of prey that mainly inhabit Eurasia and Africa. However, our project pays special attention to three eagles that are symbols of national identity in North and Central America: the bald eagle, the golden eagle, and the harpy eagles. Only two of those species, the bald and the golden eagles, are found in North America and north of Mexico, and significantly, both have attained status as a primary symbol of the United States and Mexico. The harpy eagle is the national symbol of Panama.
Eagles are members of the bird order Falconiformes (or Accipitriformes, according to alternative classification schemes), family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera that are not necessarily closely related to each other in any way.
Eagles are differentiated from other birds of prey mainly by their larger size, more powerful build, and heavier head and bill. Even the smallest eagles, such as the booted eagle (which is comparable in size to a common buzzard or red-tailed hawk), have relatively longer and more evenly broad wings, and more direct, faster flight. Most eagles are larger than any other raptors except vultures.
Like all birds of prey, eagles have very large, powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh, strong legs, and powerful talons. They also have extremely keen eyesight that enable them to spot potential prey from a very long distance. This exceptional vision is primarily attributed to their extremely large pupils, which cause minimal diffraction (scattering) of the incoming light.
Eagles build their nests, called aeries, in tall trees or on high cliffs. Many species lay two eggs, but the older, larger chick frequently kills its younger sibling once it has hatched.