# How much weight can a bald eagle carry?

Just recently, a photographer was watching some foxes hunt rabbits. One of the foxes caught a rabbit when a bald eagle swooped down grabbed the rabbit and pulled both rabbit and fox into the air. The fox let go and the eagle took the rabbit..

That brings up the question of how much weight can a bald eagle carry?

• African or Indian Bald Eagle? :=) May 24, 2018 at 14:36
• As much as it wants, who am I to argue? :) (Charlie's not getting much help just yet, I'm afraid.) May 24, 2018 at 15:55
• @DJClayworth Do you mean African or European? May 24, 2018 at 18:46
• @Acccumulation D'oh. Yes I do. May 24, 2018 at 18:47
• :: @DJClayworth is thrown off the cliff :: May 24, 2018 at 18:59

According to the Alaskan Fish And Game department,

"The wings of an eagle need to support the eight to 12-pound bird as well as whatever the bird is carrying, and best estimates put the lifting power of an eagle at four or five pounds. ..."

But as the article continues,

"Lift is dependent not only on wing size, but on airspeed. The faster a bird (or plane) is flying, the greater the lift potential. An eagle that lands on the beach to grab a fish, and then takes off again, is limited to a smaller load than an eagle that swoops down at 20 or 30 miles an hour and snatches up a fish. That momentum and speed gives the bird the ability to carry more weight."

This may or may not explain Amazing Bird Records for:

greatest weight-carrying capacity: bald eagle lifting a 6.8 kg (15 lb) mule deer

• Lands on the beach to grab a fish? Like one that's just laying there? I'm having trouble understanding what they're thinking of. May 24, 2018 at 20:02
• Momentum would help with the force required to accelerate the object off the ground. However after that it would still need to have enough lift to carry on carrying - in this instance the fox letting go would help!
– Wilf
May 24, 2018 at 21:54
• @AzorAhai it's a hypothetical situation to illustrate the physics; it doesn't have to be 100% plausible... May 24, 2018 at 22:09
• @AzorAhai Hopefully the series will be cancelled for that lapse. May 24, 2018 at 23:35
• @AzorAhai, Bald Eagles are also scavengers. If there is an easy meal available, they are more than happy to save the energy and eat something already dead. They don't limit their scavenging to fish either. May 25, 2018 at 17:15