How High Can Eagles Fly? (+ How They Do It)

How high can eagles fly

Have you ever seen an eagle fly? They can soar to heights that other birds cannot even reach. But how high has been open to debate previously, so I am pleased to present recent findings from researchers on how high can eagles fly in meters.

How high can eagles fly? Eagles can fly as high as 10,000 to 20,000 feet (3,000 to 6,000 meters) on average above the sea level. How high the eagle flies will also depend on their age, species type, and weather conditions.

That’s a very simplistic answer to the question, but if you dig deeper it’s fascinating about why eagles can fly so high and how it compares to other birds. Here’s all you need to know below.

How high do eagles fly?

Not all eagles can fly as high as 20,000 feet. That quite rare admittedly, and will be the most powerful eagles that are found in Africa, South America, and Australia. 

The golden eagle of North America and has been known to fly at heights of 3,650 meters (12,000 feet) when flying between thermals (more about that lower down).

The bald eagle, one of North America’s most famous birds of prey, can also fly at altitudes as high as 3,000 meters (10,000 ft.). The sea eagle, mainly in Australia and New Zealand, can also fly at similar heights.  

How high do eagles fly
A bald eagle can fly high, but will be lower to the ground whilst hunting (Credit:

Can an eagle fly higher than a crow? 

Eagles are known to attack crows, particularly younger ones. You can imagine them swooping down to attack, and it’s a good assumption it’s true that eagles can fly higher than crows

Crows tend to fly at heights up to 1,500 feet in urban areas compared to eagles being able to typically fly at 10,000 feet on occasions. Much higher than a crow can.

But there is one species of crow that is known to fly as high as an eagle. This is the Alpine chough, a medium-sized mountain dwelling bird resident to the high mountains of Southern Europe and Central Asia. It builds its nest at high altitudes reaching 21,300 feet. 

Can eagles fly above storms?

Eagles can fly above low storms as part of their natural instinct to escape rain and bad weather. They can fly above storms and rain clouds until the weather clears up.

“When it rains, most birds head for shelter; the eagle is the only bird that, in order to avoid the rain, soars above the rain clouds. Eagles can fly above storms using the following incredible technique:

Fearlessly, the eagle would fly into the fierce winds, using the storm current to rise higher quickly. The pressure of the storm is used to help them glide without using their energy as their wings’ unique design allows them to lock in a fixed position amid the violent storm winds. 

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Can eagles fly above clouds? 

The eagle is one of the only birds that can fly above rain clouds. Other birds, including ducks and swans, will head for shelter when it starts raining. 

Eagles fly high into the sky to avoid getting wet. Then, they stay up there until it’s safe enough to land again.

Handy Hint: Did you know that eagles will often avoid flying over large expanses of open water, despite their flying skills. Here’s why they do that.

Can eagles fly higher than Hawks?

Both hawks and eagles fly high, but eagles can fly higher than hawks. An eagle can also fly high up in the sky for hours, while some hawks cannot maintain that effort. 

Eagles are known for their long wings and powerful beak. A hawk beats its wings very fast to get momentum to fly at least 50 miles per hour!   

How high can eagles fly in meters
Eagles are kings amongst birds when it comes to flying high (Credit:

But an eagle, the largest bird of prey in North America, has a wingspan of almost 7 feet! Compared with a hawk’s wingspan, which is 20 inches shorter, an eagle can fly faster and longer. It has an average speed of 50 to 60 mph while flying.

How high various species of eagle can fly

I also wanted to see if there were any differences between the different eagle species and the maximum flying heights. Here’s what I discovered.

  • How high can martial eagles fly? 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) high.
  • How high can wedge tailed eagles fly? 5,900 feet (1,800 meters) high.
  • How high do golden eagles fly? 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) high.
  • How high do bald eagles fly? 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) high.

How do eagles fly so high?

Eagles fly so high due to their large wingspan which can be up to 7 feet across. This gives them an advantage as they are able to catch thermals and soar on the updrafts. So, instead of flapping, they rely on rising air currents to gain altitude.

Two types of rising air currents provide most lift for soaring eagles. The first, thermal updrafts, form when energy from the sun heats air at the Earth’s surface and causes it to rise. Eagles circle within these columns of rising air to gain great altitude and then glide out of the thermals to move across the landscape.

American Ornithological Society

Which bird has flown the highest?

The Ruppell’s griffon vulture is recorded as the highest-flying bird in the world. This species of avian has been recorded to fly at an altitude over 37000 feet! 

They use their keen eyesight for scanning down everything on earth, which can be seen from high up. This species can be found in Central Africa.

More about eagles

If you want to learn more about the eagles, make sure to read this article until the end for some intriguing facts about these majestic kings of the sky.

How fast can an eagle fly?

The Eagles are known for their large wingspan and powerful beak. An eagle is the fastest bird on earth, and it can achieve speeds of up to 30 mph using powerful wing-beats. Eagles can even fly at an amazing speed of more than 100 to 150 miles per hour!

They will flap their huge wings to get momentum and then close them to make themselves streamlined before increasing the throttle. 

What does a golden eagle eat?

The golden eagle is a predatory bird that feeds on small to medium-size mammals, mainly rabbits, birds, reptiles, and ground squirrels. 

They have been known to prey upon larger animals such as young pronghorn antelopes or bighorns sheep. They generally do not eat fish.

What do bald eagles eat in winter?

Bald eagles are often found near open water in winter, where they feed on fish and waterfowl. However, most of these birds return to their breeding territories as soon as a food source is available.

How long can eagles fly without stopping?

Eagles have been recorded flying up to 125 miles in one day when migrating. They travel at different speeds depending on the weather and wind currents.

What is the fastest bird in the sky?

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird in flight, with recorded speeds of 83.3m/s (186mph). The bird can reach these incredible heights when stooping or diving for prey!

How much weight can an eagle carry when flying high?

The bald eagle is a powerful predator that can carry about one third to a half of its body weight. They use their talons to catch and kill prey many times the size of themselves.

But they are unable to fly with more than just a few pounds.

Can eagles see at night?

Eagles can see in the dark, but they’re not usually very good at hunting during the night. Instead, they are diurnal birds that use their excellent vision during the day to hunt for prey.

Can eagles stare at the sun?

Yes, eagles can stare at the sun. They have special lenses in their eyes that filter out harmful UV rays. So, when soaring across the skyline, eagles get a dazzling view of the sun illuminating vast swathes of the earth below them.

How many eagle species are there in the world?

There are over 60 different species of these magnificent birds in the world. Eagles can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. 

How can eagles stand on the ice without their feet freezing?

All birds are warm-blooded and need to maintain their body temperatures. The complex set of arteries, veins, and counter-current heat exchange system helps to ensure that most of the blood flowing through its body will reach the feet. 

This strong circulation in a bald eagle’s feet and legs helps him withstand very cold temperatures.


You were curious about how high can eagles fly, so I hope I’ve cured that curiosity for you. 

I love these birds; I remember the first time I heard its call and witnessed one soaring high above my head.

If you love them too, you might like the other articles I’ve written below,

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Categorized as Birds