Zoo Animals

Bald Eagles

Bald eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

At the Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is home to two male bald eagles. Both birds were wild-born but suffered wing injuries that prevented them from being released back into the wild. One was found on Orcas Island, Washington, in April 1988 and came to the Detroit Zoo in October of that year. The other came here from Kodiak Island, Alaska, in November 2009. The Detroit Zoo collects the molted bald eagle feathers and provides them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be distributed to Native Americans for use in religious ceremonies. The bald eagles can be found in the American Grasslands.


The adult bald eagle has a white head and tail with dark brown bodies and wings. Their legs and bills are bright yellow. Young birds attain adult coloring in about five years.

Fun Facts

  • A symbol of strength and freedom, the bald eagle was chosen in 1782 as the National Emblem and is pictured on the Great Seal of the United States.

  • The bald eagle uses its feathers to balance. When it loses a feather on one wing, it will also lose a matching feather on the other side.

  • The bald eagle earned its name from the Old English word "balde," meaning white, referring to the distinctive white feathers covering its head and tail.