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  • Writer's pictureVedant N.

Eagle VS Owl - who would win

Eagle vs the owl. Who would win a fight between two of the strongest and most successful raptors, The bald eagle and the great horned owl?

The bald eagle and the great horned owls are each other’s rivals for quite a long time, they compete with each other over food, territory, and nesting areas. If you think bald eagles could easily evict their rivals, well, I’m sure they wish they could. So, who is strongest and who is the true king of the raptors?

Size and Appearance

An adult bald eagle's plumage is uniformly dark brown with a white head and tail. The tail is medium in length and shaped like a wedge. Males and females have the same plumage coloring, however, there is sexual dimorphism in the species, with females being 25% larger than males. The beak, feet, and irises are all a vibrant yellow color. The toes are small and powerful, with strong talons, and the legs are featherless. On large females, these talons are about 2 inches long. The bald eagle's body length ranges from 28 to 40 inches. The average wingspan is between 5 and 7 feet, and the weight is between 3 and 6.3 kilograms. Females are around 5.6 kg compared to 4.1 kg for males.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

The great horned owl is the biggest extant owl in Central and South America, and the second-heaviest owl in North America, after the closely related but dissimilar-looking snowy owl. With a barrel-shaped body, a huge head, and broad wings, it is well-built. Adult great horned owls have a wingspan of 3 to 5 feet, with an average of 4 feet, and a length of 17 to 25 inches, with an average of 22 inches. Females are a little bit bigger than males. Females have a mean body weight of 1.6 kilos, while males have an average body weight of 1.3 kilos. Maximum weight varies by subspecies and can reach 2.5 kilos.


The native range of the bald eagle includes the majority of North America, including most of Canada, the continental United States, and northern Mexico. It is North America's only endemic sea eagle. During the nesting season, the bald eagle can be found in practically any type of American wetland habitat, including seacoasts, rivers, big lakes or marshes, or other large bodies of open water with plenty of fish. According to studies, bald eagles prefer bodies of water with a diameter greater than 11 kilometers and lakes with an area greater than 10 square kilometers for breeding.

The great horned owl's nesting range extends high into North America's subarctic, including the north-western and southern Mackenzie Mountains, Keewatin, Ontario, northern Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Labrador. They can be found in most of North America, as well as occasionally in Central and South America. In terms of habitat, the great horned owl is one of the world's most adaptable owls, if not a bird species. The great horned owl can be found in deciduous, coniferous, and mixed woods, tropical rainforests, pampas, prairies, mountainous terrain, deserts, subarctic tundra, rocky beaches, mangrove swamp forests, and some urban areas, among other places.

Behavior in wild

A strong flier, the bald eagle soars on thermal convection currents. When gliding and flapping, it can achieve speeds of 56–70 km/h, and about 48 km/h when hauling fish. It dives at a speed of 120–160 km/h and rarely dives vertically. The bald eagle is very nimble in flight, despite being morphologically less well adapted to quicker flight than golden eagles. Bald eagles have also been observed catching up to and swooping under geese in flight, twisting over and plunging their talons into the breasts of the other birds. Depending on the area, it is partially migratory. If its region has access to open water, it will stay there all year, but if the body of water freezes over during the winter, it will migrate to the south or the coast in search of food. Post-breeding dispersal affects a number of populations.

Great horned owls are similar to other owls and birds of prey in most areas of their activity. The great horned owl, like most owls, thrives on secrecy and stealth. It is effectively disguised both while active at night and while roosting during the day, thanks to its natural-colored plumage. It roosts throughout the day on huge trees. Great horned owls are typically stable, occupying a single territory for most of their adult lifetimes. Hooting is used to establish and maintain territories, with the largest activity occurring before egg-laying and the second peak occurring in the autumn when juveniles depart. Males perform the majority of territorial defense, while females frequently aid their mates in hooting competitions with neighbors or outsiders, even while incubation is taking place. Although territory borders can sometimes be effectively maintained through vocalizations alone without ever seeing the opposing owl, such disputes can often become violent, with varying levels of threat. Spreading wings, bill-clapping, hissing, higher-pitched, longer-duration screams, and the overall body preparing to strike with its feet at the intruder characterize the greatest threat level. If the intruder persists, the defensive owl will leap forward and hit it with its feet, attempting to grip and rake with its claws.


The bald eagle is an opportunistic carnivore capable of eating a wide range of prey. Fish make up a large part of the eagle's food throughout its range. Fish made up 56 percent of the diet of nesting eagles, followed by birds 28%, mammals 14%, and other prey 2%. Eagles prefer medium-sized birds as prey, such as western grebes, mallards, and American coots, because prey is relatively easy to catch and fly with for the much larger eagles. The American herring gull is the preferred bird prey of eagles residing near Lake Superior. Larger waterbirds, such as wintering emperor geese and snow geese, which congregate in huge flocks, are occasionally prey. Mammalian prey includes rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, raccoons, muskrats, beavers, and deer fawns.

The great horned owl is a species of owl that lives in the United States and Hunts primarily at night, but also at dusk. From a lofty perch, it watches and then swoops down to catch prey with its talons. In low-light situations, he has excellent hearing and vision. The majority of their diet consists of various mammals and birds. In most areas, mammals make up the majority of the diet. They eat rats, mice, and rabbits, as well as ground squirrels, opossums, skunks, and a variety of other animals. They Eat geese, ducks, hawks, and smaller owls up to the size of geese. Snakes, lizards, frogs, insects, scorpions, and fish are also eaten.

Eagle vs Owl - Final Thoughts

So, coming to the end, who would win between this eagle and this owl? These birds have been known to harass each other, kill or eat each other’s young, or battle over nests, and generally don’t like each other. Owls are terrifyingly skilled at the silent art of assassination, discreetly swooping in, and hooking their victim in a blink of an eye. They hardly make a sound when they flap their wings, so if one flew above your head or perched behind you, you’d never hear it.

While bald eagles are much larger than owls, the owls are the tigers of the air. The owls, on the other hand, make up for their small size with their viciousness. Eagles are even known to attack much more powerful and more massive prey such as wolves and wild goats. The eagle’s feet, with talons, are nearly 1.5 times larger than the owl's lethal feet. The great horned owl, on the other hand, is significantly tougher pound for pound. Even though the eagle's feet are larger and thicker, the owl’s grip is much stronger.

In a battle in the air, the eagle has an advantage, as it is much faster than the owl, and can grab and kill them easily while flying. But in the nest or on the ground. If an owl gets a grip on an eagle's ribs or spine, it will be, the end for the eagle.

So, from all our studies, eagles must be smart enough to flee from being attacked in a nest or a small space. But, when it comes down to a fight, an eagle can easily destroy and kill an owl if needed. So, the winner of this battle is a much larger, stronger, and quicker, bald eagle.


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