Eagles of Missouri (Two Species to Know)

Eagles are thought of as regal and majestic birds that soar over the United States. There are a few different eagle species that make their way into the United States. In this post there is information about which species you can expect to find in your state in addition to identification tips and facts.

Bald Eagle

Adult Bald Eagle (Photo by Bill grossmeyer)
Juvenile Bald Eagle (Photo by Bill Grossmeyer)

The adult Bald Eagle is an unmistakable raptor species. They have a brown body with a white head and tail. In flight, they look quite flat as opposed to Turkey Vultures and other soaring species that sport a v-shaped wing pattern known as a dihedral. Bald Eagles have a large yellow bill.

Juvenile Bald Eagles don’t look quite as distinctive with varying degrees of mottled white mixed In with brown. Juveniles still have a noticeably large bill.


Bald Eagles winter in most of the Southern United States and Northern Mexico. They migrate north into Canada and some of the Great Lakes states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. There are many areas where Bald Eagles live year round, most of which are around coastlines, rivers, or other bodies of water.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Bald Eagles eat primarily fish but will also consume amphibians, mammals, reptiles, and carrion. In fact, Bald Eagles can often be seen around landfills searching for scraps, or roadsides searching for roadkill. Two places one wouldn’t expect to see such a majestic bird.

Where to Find This Bird

The easiest way to see Bald Eagles is to watch the skies and look for a large bird with broad, flat wings soaring. In terms of places to see many Bald Eagles at once, search out dams or other places where fish congregate, here, several different Eagles may be waiting to get an easy meal. To see Eagles in their nesting habitat, forests near rivers and bodies of water that are far away from human habitation are the best places.

Golden Eagle (Rare)

Golden Eagle (Photo by Bill Grossmeyer)

Golden Eagles are very large raptors that are brown in color with slightly lighter feathers mixed in. They have a white band on the tail, and the nape of their neck has golden colored feathers. Immature birds have white at the base of their primary feathers visible in flight from underneath.


Golden Eagles live year round in the western half of the United States and Northern Mexico. Some members of this species migrate north and breed in Alaska and Canada. During winter, Golden Eagles move east with some birds traveling a significant distance away from their expected area. This species can also be found in Europe and parts of Asia.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Golden Eagles typically eat mammals such as squirrels and rabbits, but they will also eat birds. This particular species has also been known to to take on much larger prey such as deer or even other larger predators such as coyotes.

Where to Find This Bird

Golden Eagles aren’t typically found near human habitation or near large tracts of forest. They are a species of open areas as well as mountainous areas. The easiest way to find them is to look for them soaring over.


Eagles are large and noticeable birds. Their regal look and importance as symbols of strength certainly make them intriguing. Knowing which eagle species are expected in your state can be instrumental in identifying which exact species you’re looking at.

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