American Bald Eagle Vs Philippine Eagle

Which is the most powerful?

Imagine a fight between these super bird predators? Who would finally win?

That’s a tricky question for sure…

Eagles have occupied a very special place in many civilizations across the world and we can guess why–they are renowned for their robust figure, size, and splendor.

Eagles have been a symbol of supreme power ever since ancient times. From Ancient Egypt to the medieval French empire, eagles were depicted on weapons, coins, and several artifacts.

There are over 60 species of eagles across the globe.

But if we picked the common American bald eagle and the Philippine eagle, who would win the fight?

It’s a highly unlikely scenario as there are zero records of the two eagle species existing in the same fight arena. The two birds exist on vastly different sides of the world and so it would be hard to bring them together for a fight.

Both flying predators display special physical features and impressive attributes.

Before we answer this hot question, let’s get to know the two species better first…

Easily distinguished by its white head, brownish body, and light yellow beak, the American bald eagle has been the national symbol of the USA since the 18th century.

Despite their name, American bald eagles aren’t bald but their white head, which contrasts their brown body, makes them look bald from a distance.

The awe-inspiring bird is found across several U.S states and Canada, especially in the skies of Alaska and in Northern state areas bordering with Canada.

On the contrary, the Philippine Eagle exists exclusively in the Philippines and is one of the biggest and strongest bird predators.

Sadly, the Philippine eagle falls under the list of endangered species because of hunters and vast deforestation.

Like the American bald eagle, the Philippine eagle has also been a national emblem of its country, representing power, freedom, and love for the Filipino culture.

The flying predator is known by the locals as “Haribon” or “Haribon Ibon” Agila which translates to “Bird King Eagle” and “Banog” which means “Kite”.

So what makes each of these eagles so special?

The American Bald eagle is a big predator and raptor characterized by its brownish body and big wings, its fine white head and curving light yellow beak.

Its feet are also yellowish and come with fierce black talons to help grab its prey better.

Younger bald eagles differ from adult ones in appearance as their body is mostly brown with random white spots beneath their wings and chest.

As the younger eagle matures, its bill becomes more yellow. The head and tail gradually become white.

American bald eagles typically grow to approximately 2.5-3 feet or 0.7 to 0.9 meters in height. They weigh 7 to 15 pounds on average and their wings stretch up to 7 feet or 2 meters when open. Pretty impressive, right?

Female bald eagles are bigger than males but bear the same colors.

In addition to its power and scarcity, this preying bird is clearly distinguished by its large size.

Female Bald eagles can grow up to 3.4” feet or 1 meter and their wingspan stretches 7.1 feet or 2.2 meters. It’s the biggest existing eagle on the globe lengthwise!

Likewise, the females weigh up to 18 pounds or approximately 8kg.

The Philippine Eagle is characterized by its nape that bears warm brownish feathers and a hairy chest, long feathers on the crown, a set of grayish-blue eyes and a large curved beak.

The bird also communicates and establishes its territory by making a high-pitched sound.

What is the natural habitat of these two species?

American balds prefer to reside in regions close to water streams as fish is their favorite dish. Therefore, you can see them flying over rivers, coasts, damps, wetlands and marshes.

When the eagles rest, roost or go to their nests, they prefer hardwoods like oak and pine trees.

They also choose their tree hosts based on how long and sturdy they are.

Bald eagles are predominantly found across the U.S but they also fly in Alaska, Southern Canada and Northern Mexico.

The frequency of bald eagle sightings varies depending on the season.

Now, the Philippine eagle naturally lives in the Philippines and you can spot the eagle in regions of bigger nearby islands such as Leyte, Samar, Mindanao, and Luzon.

They usually prefer to inhabit residues of main hardwood tropical trees known as “dipterocarps”, a category of resinous trees found in the Old World tropical zone.

The Philippine eagles also inhabit secondary re-grown forests.

So what do the two bird predators eat?

Like all predators of their kind, bald eagles mainly eat fish and choose to live near body waters for easy access to their prey.

Many bald eagle populations rely highly on the spawning cycles of fatty fish like trout and salmon.

They also feed on ducks, geese, loons, cranes, small pelicans, cranes, and seagulls.

On rare occasions, they may attack small mammals such as rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, beavers, small deer, and bats.

They occasionally hunt snakes and rats if their first “dish” is not on sight.

Their Filipino relatives prey usually on medium-sized mammals like flying squirrels, lemurs, civets, and monkeys. Yep, they are also known as “monkey-eating eagles” because of this.

Other favorite foods of the Philippine eagles include snakes, rats, small birds, and bats.

Single eagles begin to hunt from their nest on the edge of a hill. Then they fly from perch to perch to find their prey and return to their nest.

This particular technique helps them save energy as they can rest from one perch to another until they find their food.

Impressively, these eagles hunt in pairs occasionally. One eagle plays the role of “distraction” capturing the attention of a monkey group, while the second partner grabs the monkey from behind.

What about their flying behavior?

Bald eagles are strong-flying birds renowned for their winging, flapping, and gliding over lengthy areas.

In one instance of magnificent mating demonstrations, a male and its female partner fly high through the sky, set talons, and form a cartwheel together, pulling off at the last moment to avoid crashing to the ground.

They can also float over deep water bodies using their wings to catch prey.

Though mainly single, bald eagles may gather in groups of hundred birds at communal hosts and feeding areas, especially during the cold season.

When they feed on their prey, they can also fight and push vultures out of their way.

In regards to the Filipino eagles, the natural evolution of the Philippine islands without other flying predators made these eagles the main predator across Phillilie forests.

Each eagle pair needs a big host range between 25 to 50 square miles to successfully breed chicks. Thus, the species are highly sensitive to frequent deforestation. No wonder they are endangered.

These tropical eagles display a very agile and swift flight that resembles that of smaller-sized hawks.

Moreover, you can also spot them attacking fixed and random objects for practice or doing an upside-down hanging exercise to support their body balance.

Finally, both of these species have a life expectancy between 30 to 60 years. We’d say around 40% of human life expectancy which isn’t bad.

Going back to our main question, who would win the fight–the American bald eagle or its Philippine counterpart?

If we set up a battle between these two birds, it will be a savage one for sure.

But, their natural habitat and preying differences will stand in the way, predicting the outcome of this battle will be extra hard.

The strength, size, flying speed and agility of the species are two very important factors that come into play. Without a doubt, the Philippine eagle has an edge in all these aspects.

But, the American bald eagle is very intelligent and able to defend itself swiftly in case of an attack.

The “monkey-eating” eagle is renowned for its ability to maneuver swiftly in all directions between dense exotic forests and trees. Their robust physical characteristics certainly help.

Therefore, in a possible fight between the two, the Philippine eagle has the highest odds of winning.

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