The sexes are indistinguishable by their plumage, or feathers, but females are as much as 25 percent larger than males. Adults are dark brown with a white head and tail. The eyes, bill, legs, and feet are yellow. Juveniles are dark brown overall with white mottling or spots on the belly, tail, and under the wings. The eyes are dark brown and the bill is gray to black. The plumage of subadults, or birds which have not quite reached adult status, is highly variable, according to age, with a decreasing amount of white on the body and an increasing amount of white on the head and tail attained with each successive molt, or shedding of feathers. The eyes and bill turn yellow during the eagle's fourth year, and full adult plumage is attained during the bird's fifth or usually sixth year (Buehler 2000).
Identify the differences between bald eagles and ospreys (183KB).
(1) Taken from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Bald Eagle Management Plan (adopted April 9, 2008). View the Management Plan .