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Do Bald Eagles Eat Ducks? Facts and Behaviors of Bald Eagles

  • Bald eagles eat ducks but are not their primary food source.
  • Bald eagles are opportunistic hunters and will take advantage of any prey that is available to them.
  • Ducks have several defense mechanisms that help them avoid becoming prey, but bald eagles can still catch them.

Bald eagles are known for their sharp talons, hooked beaks, and ability to soar high in the sky.

As opportunistic hunters, bald eagles can prey on various animals, including fish, mammals, and birds. One question that often comes up is whether bald eagles eat ducks.

The answer is yes, bald eagles do eat ducks. However, ducks are not their primary food source. Bald eagles consume 400 species, primarily fish, birds, and mammals. Ducks are only a small part of their diet, but they are still on the menu.

When it comes to ducks, bald eagles are known to hunt both live ducks and carcasses.

They are skilled hunters and can easily spot ducks from afar. However, ducks have several defense mechanisms that help them to avoid becoming prey.

Some duck species are known to dive underwater to escape predators, while others fly away at the first sign of danger.

Despite these defenses, bald eagles can still catch ducks and add them to their diet.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Ducks (2)

Do Bald Eagles Eat Ducks

As an expert on wildlife, I can confirm that bald eagles do eat ducks, but it is not their primary food source.

According to the American Eagle Foundation, bald eagles prefer to hunt fish, which comprise 70-90% of their diet.

However, they are opportunistic hunters and will take advantage of any available prey, including ducks.

Bald eagles are skilled hunters with excellent eyesight, allowing them to spot prey from far away.

They will often fly over bodies of water, looking for fish, but they will also keep an eye out for ducks and other waterfowl.

When they spot a duck, they swoop and grab it with their talons.

It’s important to note that bald eagles are not just limited to hunting ducks in the water.

They will also hunt ducks on land if they have the opportunity. For example, bald eagles will follow the fall migration of ducks and geese and feed on birds that hunters have injured.

They also can feed on moderately sized wild mammals, such as groundhogs.

How Do Bald Eagles Capture and Kill Ducks?

When hunting ducks, bald eagles use a combination of aerial attacks and ambush tactics.

They will often perch on a tree or rock and wait for the right moment to launch an attack.

When hunting ducks in the water, bald eagles swoop down and use their sharp talons to grab the duck.

They can also use their wings to create a wave that will push the duck toward the shore, making capturing it easier.

Bald eagles are also known for their ability to catch ducks in mid-air. They will fly at high speeds and use their talons to grab the duck out of the air.

This hunting technique requires a lot of skill and precision, and not all bald eagles can do it.

Once a bald eagle has captured a duck, it will use its powerful beak to kill it. They have a strong bite force that can crush the bones of their prey, making it easier to consume.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Live Ducks or Mostly Carcasses?

Bald eagles will eat live prey when they can, but they are also known to scavenge for carrion.

While bald eagles are not specialized duck hunters, they will eat ducks when given the chance.

Eagles have been seen surrounding flocks of ducks, harassing them, and flushing them into the air.

This behavior can lead to ducks colliding with power lines or crashing into the water, resulting in injury or death.

Do Bald Eagles Prefer Specific Duck Species?

They are not picky regarding duck species and will eat any duck they can catch.

That being said, some duck species may be more vulnerable to predation by bald eagles than others.

For example, ducks that are slower or less agile in flight may be easier targets for eagles.

Additionally, ducks that spend more time in open water, such as diving ducks, may be more susceptible to predation by eagles than ducks that spend more time in vegetated areas or on land.


In conclusion, bald eagles do eat ducks, but they are opportunistic feeders and will consume a variety of prey depending on what is most available.

Fish comprise about 70 to 90 percent of the diet of Bald Eagles, but they will also feed on birds, mammals, and other prey like lizards.

Ducks play a crucial role in the dietary composition of eagles, providing a reliable food source throughout the year.

Preying on ducks helps regulate their population and prevents overpopulation.

Eagles have strong curved claws and beaks that can easily tear out the flesh, making them efficient predators.

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