We all know eagles as being powerful and majestic hunters, symbols of strength and dignity. Being adapted to different environments and lifestyles, they have all evolved different strengths, such as speed, agility, size, weaponry, and intelligence.
However, they do share a few things in common.
All eagles are equipped with powerful eyesight, talons and beaks, used to capture and kill their prey. While they each have their favorite meal, none of them are too picky and will eat just about anything they wrap their talons around, even carrion.
Every eagle species is a carnivore, which means something needs to die in order for these predators to satisfy their hunger requirements.
So killing other organisms is not a choice. It is an absolute necessity.
What makes each of them special? Which are the strongest eagles in the world, and why?
Strongest Eagles in the World
Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja)
- Weight: av. 18.2lb, max. 20lb
- Wingspan: av. 6ft 5in, max. 7ft 4in
- Length: av. 2ft 10in, max, 3ft 6in
Harpy eagles are typically found in the upper canopy of South American rainforests. These beautiful birds are the second-largest eagle species by length and third-largest by weight.
However, despite not being the largest by any measurements, harpy eagles wear the crown of being the strongest eagles in the world.
The size of its talons is measured to be 4 inches, the same size as the grizzly bear’s claws! Their talon gripping strength is often compared to the strength of a rottweiler’s jaws.
In other words, harpy eagles can produce more than 530 pounds of pressure, which is powerful enough to shatter bones in a matter of seconds. Deadly weaponry!
By being strict carnivores, their diet consists mainly of three-dwelling mammals, such as sloths and monkeys. Yet, unlike most birds of prey, harpy eagles do not need to eat every day. In fact, they can go a full weak without feeding.
Despite being large raptors, harpy eagles can still reach flying speeds of 50 mph. They are also quite maneuverable birds, and when hunting, they can attack from both below or above.
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Martial Eagles (Polemaetus bellicosus)
- Weight: average 10lb, maximum 13.7lb
- Wingspan: average 6ft 9in, maximum 8ft 6in
- Length: average 34in, maximum 38in
The endangered martial eagle is Africa’s largest eagle, and one of the biggest in the world. It is remarkably powerful, capable of knocking down a fully grown man or breaking an arm.
While its beak is of medium size, its talons are extremely long and powerful, ranking 4th longest in the world.
Martial eagles are generally shy of humans but known to be fierce hunters, taking down monitor lizards, venomous snakes, jackals, and even wild cats over twice their size. They have also been known to attack much larger animals, like antelopes.
These raptors have remarkably good eyesight, almost rivaling that of the bald eagle, and can spot prey up to 3 miles away!
The martial eagle is a highly efficient predator and can adapt its technique to suit its prey or environment.
Read Also: Birds That Run
White-tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla)
- Weight: av. 11lb, max. 17lb
- Wingspan: av. 7ft 2in, max. 8ft 3in
- Length: av. 28in, max. 37in
The white-tailed eagle has the largest wingspan of any living eagle and can be found across the globe, from Greenland to Japan.
They are the national bird of Germany, and the largest bird of prey on the European continent, ranking among the heaviest eagles in the world.
Their short, powerful talons are perfectly adapted for snatching fish and are very sharp and curved. While they mainly feed on fish, white-tailed eagles are opportunistic hunters, and their impressive 2.6-inch beak, allows them to hunt many types of prey.
Though they are not particularly aggressive most of the time, these massive birds are highly territorial and will defend their homes viciously against anything foolish enough to intrude.
Crowned Eagles (Stephanoaetus coronatus)
- Weight: av. 8lb, max. 10lb
- Wingspan: av. 5ft 1in, max. 6ft 2in
- Length: av. 2ft 10in, max. 3ft 3in
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the Crowned eagle eats primarily small mammals, such as duikers, monkeys, and hyrax, but can take prey up to 66 lbs (over six times their own weight!).
While not as big as their martial eagle neighbors, they are known to be Africa’s strongest eagle due to their muscular legs and very large talons, measuring 2.4 inches long.
They have comparatively short wings, which are perfect for easy maneuvering among the trees they call home and stopping a dive at very short distances.
Crowned eagles typically hunt using stealth attacks, waiting silently for the perfect moment to pounce, when they drop onto their prey and use those impressive talons to crush its skull or spine. It is known to be a fearsome and aggressive hunter, earning it the title of “leopard of the sky”.
Related: Birds With Talons
Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
- Weight: av. 9lb, max. 15lb
- Wingspan: av. 6ft 6in, max. 8ft
- Length: av. 2ft 11in, max. 3ft 7in
The instantly recognizable Bald eagle is the national bird of the United States and is found throughout North America.
These majestic animals have strong, razor-sharp, curved talons, perfect for catching the slippery fish they prefer to eat. Each foot has a crushing power of over 400 lbs per square inch, making it impossible for anything to wriggle away once caught.
Bald eagles often need to fly large distances to find their food and use thermal drafts to conserve their energy.
They also have among the best eyesight of any living animal and can spot prey at over 3 miles of distance!
Once prey is sighted, they can dive at speeds of up to 100 mph and use their powerful legs to snatch fish right out of the water. The bald eagle is perfectly adapted to its environment, making it an impressive apex avian predator.
Steller’s Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus pelagicus)
- Weight: av. 15lb, max. 20lb
- Wingspan: av. 7ft, max. 8ft 2in
- Length: av. 3ft 1in, max. 3ft 5in
The Steller’s sea eagle is one of the largest eagles in the world and is claimed by many to be the heaviest.
These giants are formidable predators, not just because of their massive size but also because of their dominant and aggressive personalities. They are big and tough, and they know it!
Found along the eastern Asian coasts, they hunt mainly fish and seabirds but are more than happy to hunt larger prey, like foxes and dogs, too.
fThey have relatively short, but very powerful talons and one of the largest bills of any eagle (3 inches), which they use to grip and tear into their prey.
Despite their massive size, they are surprisingly fast, reaching dive speeds of up to 140 mph.
The Steller’s sea eagle is territorial and doesn’t tolerate intruders well. You do not want to get on the wrong side of these guys!
Wedge-tailed Eagles (Aquila audax)
- Weight: av. 8lb, max. 12.8lb
- Wingspan: av. 6ft 11in, max. 9ft 4in
- Length: av. 3ft 2in, max, 3ft 6in
Though the largest predatory bird in its native Australia, the Wedge-tailed eagle is often described as “lanky”.
These streamlined birds have relatively short talons, at a little under 2 inches. But don’t be fooled! They are incredibly strong and sharp and accompanied by a powerful 2.5-inch beak.
The wedge-tailed eagle typically hunts small mammals, reptiles, birds. But it is also a scavenger bird, feeding on carrion.
Their hunting technique is similar to many open-air eagles, diving down at high speed and instantly killing their prey.
What makes these birds particularly scary is a hunting tactic so efficient. By utilizing cooperation, wedge-tailed eagles can take down kangaroos, the world’s largest and most powerful marsupial.
Not just two or three birds: up to 15 individuals have been known to hunt together, taking it in turns to attack and exhaust their prey.
And these guys have impressive stamina! They often glide for hours on end, without rest, seemingly just for the fun!
Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)
- Weight: av. 10lb, max. 14lb
- Wingspan: av. 6ft 9in, max. 9ft 3in
- Length: av. 2ft 4in, max. 3ft 4in
The Golden eagle may not be the strongest, but it is the fastest eagle in the world. These agile animals can glide at up to 120 mph and reach an incredible 200 mph in a dive.
This makes them the second-fastest creature on the planet, after the Peregrine falcon.
These stunning creatures can be found right across the globe, from North America to Eurasia and even North Africa. Golden eagles hunt in the open air, using their sharp eyes and massive wings to hunt down rabbits, marmots, foxes, and even deer.
Golden eagles are clever predators, and they have been known to use the sunlight to blind their prey, angling themselves so that they can’t be seen.
At the perfect moment, they dive down and kill their prey, often instantly, with their brutal 2.5-inch talons and 2-inch beak.
Even if their prey miraculously survives the impact, they stand no chance of escaping the Golden eagle’s grip: they have a devastating 750 of crushing power per square inch in each foot!
Philippine Eagles (Pithecophaga jefferyi)
- Weight: av. 14lb, max. 18lb
- Wingspan: max. 7ft 3in
- Length: av.3ft 3in, max. 3ft 8in
The highly endangered Philippine eagle is the longest eagle on our list, and indeed, the world. And together with the Steller’s sea eagle and the Harpy eagle, it is among the heaviest and the strongest eagles in the world.
Despite this, they have relatively short wings, perfect for maneuvering through the Philippine jungles, where they are found.
They are quick and agile hunters, with massive beaks up to 3 inches in length, the largest of any eagle, other than the Steller’s sea eagle.
Like most eagles, they will eat almost anything they can, including small pigs and deer, but they prefer monkeys.
The Philippine eagle is an intelligent hunter, using different tactics in different situations. They may choose to silently watch their prey, waiting for the perfect moment to strike, or hop from branch to branch, edging closer to the unsuspecting animal.
These natural-born hunters finish the job by attacking with their strong legs and impressive 2.2-inch talons, quickly dispatching their prey.