How Much is a Bald Eagle Worth? (Prices & Legality)

how much is a bald eagle worth

A few months ago, a friend jokingly mentioned that the bald eagle’s price could fully pay for my vacation to a luxurious destination — and I’d still have money left over!

Whilst this was a tongue in cheek comment, it did make me wonder how much money a bald eagle is, and even whether you can legally own one. Here’s what I discovered… 

How much is a bald eagle worth? A bald eagle’s price ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 when put into the context of it’s worth in a licensed and qualified institution. However, it is illegal to buy or sell a bald eagle, so the reality of them having a price is rarely realized.

It’s almost unheard of that a bald eagle would be sold. However, based on online research, a bald eagle’s worth of between $3,000 and $5,000 is what it might cost when they are transferred legally between wildlife sanctuaries. 

Warning: It is currently illegal to own a bald eagle as a pet. The only people who can own a bald eagle are federally permitted wildlife rehabilitators and qualifying institutions. If you see anyone trying to sell a bald eagle, please report them to the police immediately. 

The government is extremely protective of the special bird. The law forbids individuals from keeping a bald eagle for personal gain or use.

Read on as I dig deeper into the price of a bald eagle. You’ll then quickly understand why the abhorrent habit of poaching of bald eagles still happens today. 

From what I can uncover, there’s an illegal black market for birds of prey and bald eagles, among other eagle species. I’ll address all these and more in the article.  

Handy Hint: If you kill a bald eagle there’s every chance you could face jail time as well as paying a heavy fine.

The bald eagle’s high worth: why the expensive price tag?

My first time seeing a bald eagle, I couldn’t help but admire its majestic appearance. There’s something about this bird that makes it stand out from the other eagle species. 

Perhaps this has to do with the bald eagle’s striking white head, white tail, and piercing yellow eyes that enhance its dark brown body.

The values system that the bald eagle represents is priceless. But assigning a monetary value to the bald eagle was a way of showing how valuable this bird is to our nation.

How much money is a bald eagle
It is illegal to trade in bald eagles, hence a high price on the black market (Credit:

As mentioned earlier, it’s estimated that the bald eagle is worth $3,000 to $5,000. The bald eagle’s high value proves how much the government treasures this bird. It makes sense why the government will do anything to protect the bald eagle from any form of exploitation that may degrade its worth.

Take a moment to imagine how the situation would be if the bald eagle wasn’t a federally protected bird and had no monetary value. The truth is most people would underestimate how sacred the bald eagle is to our nation. They’d care less about protecting its welfare. 

The bald eagle is also worth thousands of dollars because of its economic contribution to the country. Millions of visitors come to the U.S every year to observe and photograph the congregation of bald eagles in different regions across the country. 

Let’s not forget the many bald eagles’ festivals held and exhibitions that bring in billions of dollars in revenue. 

It’s clear that the bald eagle’s worth attracts widespread interest. And to protect its worth, the government has set forth penalties to punish persons who engage in illegal acts that devalue the bald eagle. 

Imposing these penalties also helps to ensure that the bald eagle doesn’t end up back on the list of endangered species. 

Despite the ban, bald eagles still flood black markets

Unfortunately, the public’s knowledge of the bald eagle’s worth opened doors to a booming black market where willing buyers purchase poached bald eagles’ body parts.

In November last year, officials from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service made a horrific discovery. They were alerted about the feet of four bald eagles lying along a street in Woodbury, New Jersey. 

Talons were missing from the feet, and so were the carcasses of the dead bald eagles. It turns out people poach bald eagles for their talons, too. An eagle’s talons can make high-quality jewelry pieces.

How much is it to buy a bald eagle
This magnificent bird shouldn’t really have a price tag on it (Credit:

There are also unending cases of bald eagle shootings linked to the illicit trade of selling bald eagles. This protected bird has been being commercialized by illegal traders for economic gain. And worse is, the traders are selling bald eagles for prices that don’t match this eagle’s actual worth. 

The bald eagle’s carcass and body parts fetch high prices in the black market, tempting more people to take part in the illegal business of poaching bald eagles. 

There’s an increase in demand for the following bald eagle parts:

  • Bald eagles’ feathers.
  • Bald eagles’ feet and talons.
  • Bald eagles’ pair of wings.
  • Bald eagles’ heads.

In black markets, the carcass of a bald eagle can be priced from $1,000 to $2,000. A bald eagle’s head is worth around $250. A set of bald eagle wings can go for $600. Bald eagle feathers sell like hotcakes. 

How much is a bald feather eagle worth?

The price of a single feather is roughly $150. However, that’s only half the story because if you are found to have harmed a bald eagle to get the feather it could cost you $25,000 in a fine and possible time in prison.

As an illegal trader, you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank — until the law catches up with you. 

Possessing a bald eagle’s carcass or any of its body parts is illegal. Only tribal members involved in native American celebrations are allowed to have these body parts: with a federal permit, of course. 

And even then, they’re required by law to access these parts through the National Eagle Repository. This facility is legally authorized to distribute bald eagle body parts to native American tribes. Natives use these parts during their nationally recognized cultural and religious ceremonies. 

Keep in mind that it’s against the law for persons from native American tribes to give the bald eagle’s body parts to non-native Americans. 

Native tribal members use bald eagle parts like feathers, wings, and tails to decorate killer costumes to be worn during the ceremonies.

In most ceremonies, there are prizes awarded to those with the best outfits. Greedy individuals take advantage of these ceremonies to sell illegally obtained bald eagle body parts. 

The National Eagle Repository only distributes body parts of bald eagles that have died due to different causes. For instance:

  • Bald eagles that crash into telephone poles or power poles and die.
  • Bald eagles that die from electrocution after hitting high-voltage power lines.
  • Bald eagles that die after being hit by cars or planes.
  • Bald eagles that die from lead poisoning.
  • Bald eagles that die from accidental shootings.
  • Bald eagles killed by wind turbines.

Individuals interested in acquiring bald eagle body parts the legal way have the option of applying to the National Eagle Repository. 

Unfortunately, approval of applications can take months or even years. The long wait makes applicants impatient. To get what they desire, they turn to the black market. 

Can you legally own a bald eagle?

The answer is no. Bald eagles fall under the category of wild birds, and they’re protected by the law. These birds must be in their natural environment and, therefore, can’t be owned as pets. 

Permits to keep bald eagles can only be issued to federal wildlife rehabilitators. In their case, though, the permit is given to care for bald eagles that are injured, sick, or orphaned. 

The permit isn’t for the rehabilitators to domesticate bald eagles for personal benefits.  

Can I sell a bald eagle?

You can’t sell a bald eagle. Federal law prohibits the selling of bald eagles, including their body parts. These legal restrictions are in place to ensure that the population of bald eagles isn’t affected. 

Selling bald eagles will also mean denying these birds the chance to enjoy their future in the wild, as they rightfully deserve. 

If you’re found guilty of selling a bald eagle, you’ll face imprisonment for a year or more and pay up to $10,000 in penalties.

Would you want to serve prison time or pay thousands of dollars in penalties? I guess not. Don’t try to sell a bald eagle, even if you come across one by the roadside that’s injured or dead. 

How much is it to buy a bald eagle?

A bald eagle costs anywhere between $3,000 and $ 5,000. However, bald eagles are not for sale, according to federal law.  

Can you build near an eagle’s nest?

According to federal law, you must build a considerable distance away from a bald eagle’s nest. For the most up to date legislation, please consult this guide.


Doing this research into how much bald eagles are worth has been a huge eye opener. Before I had no idea that there were people out there actually catching and sometimes killing these magnificent creatures. 

If you can, I do encourage people to donate to a bald eagle charity such as They do a great job in helping to protect these birds.

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Categorized as Birds