Do Eagles Mate For Life? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Eagles are known for their strength and for being one of the birds of prey. When it comes to reproduction, eagles are known for being monogamous.

Eagles mate for life, once they pair up with a mate they build the family and stay together for life.

Eagle pairs build their nests together as both the male and the female bring sticks to make up the nests. The males also help incubate and feed their offspring.

Eagles are interesting birds and today’s article will discuss whether eagles are monogamous, what happens if they lose a mate, how they choose a mate among other things. 

How Long Do Eagles Mate For?

Do Eagles Mate For Life

Generally, eagles mate for life and once a pair of eagles has succeeded in bonding, they become mated for life.

They are the literal definition of till death do us part. Eagle pairs build their nests together and raise their chicks together.

Responsibility doesn’t lie solely with the female as the male is also very much involved in raising the younglings and protecting the brood.

Eagles engage in interesting and dramatic courtship displays which involve cartwheeling and aerial stick exchanges before they find a mate.

These behaviors are supposed to test the strength of the partners.

After partnering up, the eagle pair begins to build their nest and raise a brood. 

However studies have revealed that on some occasions an unpaired eagle might come to fight for the territory with the resident eagle and will take over if the residing bird is not able to defend his/her territory ably.

This behavior can come from either gender of the bird but it is more common with females. 

Related: Check out this article I wrote on eagles killing snakes

What Happens If An Eagle Loses Its Mate?

Eagle pairs are usually monogamous and faithful to each other throughout their lifetime.

However, if for one reason or the other one of the pair dies or doesn’t return to their nest, the surviving mate will quickly look for another eagle to pair with.

Eagles have a strong nest fidelity and oftentimes after pairing with another bird, the surviving mate will make use of the old nest with the new partner. 

Are All Eagles Monogamous?

Yes, all known eagle species from the bald eagle to the golden eagle are monogamous in nature. Not only are they sexually monogamous they are also socially monogamous. 

This means that once two eagles form a breeding pair, they will stay together throughout their long lifetime.

Eagle pairs do everything together, they build nests together, raise their chicks and both defend their territory from intruders together.

They will return to the same nest every year once its breeding season. Both parents are also responsible for taking care of their chicks.

Eagles are responsible parents who take good care of their hatchlings till they are full-fledged and are able to fly on their own. 

How Do Male Eagles Court The Females?

Eagle courtship is quite different from most known bird species on earth. Male birds of other species mostly engage in ritual dances and calls to engage the females and if she is impressed she will allow the male mate with her.

For eagles, the unpaired female eagle is the major decider of which male she will accept as her mate and she will test different males that come to court her till they pass all her tests.

Eagle courtship rituals are popular for actions such as cartwheeling, aerial stick throwing, talon locking, rollercoaster flights to mention a few.

Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact behavioral or reproductive capabilities eagles look for in a potential mate; however they do know these maneuvers help test the ability of the male eagle to protect its family when they start breeding.

One of the popular displays is aerial stick throwing where the female picks off a stick flies up and throws the stick.

The male eagle catches it and she goes off for a larger stick and does this for about 5 times.

If at any point in this test the male eagle is unable to catch the sticks or logs the female eagle will immediately fly off to look for another mate as he has failed the test.

After bonding with a mate, both sexes will begin building a nest together as this is part of the courtship and bonding process.

Also check out this article I wrote on eagles and predators

Do Eagles Stay Together As A Family?

Eagles are reputed to stay together as a family. Once an eagle pair bonds and they start mating, the female will lay eggs mostly 2 or 3 at the most in one clutch.

Both the male and the female eagle are responsible for taking care of the young. The male eagle helps in incubation of the young and protecting the nest while the female eagle is broody.

Once the eggs are hatched, both parents will take care of the young and teach them how to feed, fly and generally take care of themselves in the wild.

While teaching the young to fly they sometimes fall and the male eagle has to catch them.

These are strengths which are usually tested by the courtship rituals.

The eagle parents stay together with their fledglings till they are old enough to leave the nest.

However once it is winter and migration periods, eagle pairs do not migrate together.

They leave separately and stay apart till they return to their nesting territory at the beginning of another breeding season.

How Do Eagles Choose Their Mate?

Unpaired eagles usually choose their mates during winter congregations and at the start of a breeding season.

Eagles go through a series of complicated courtship rituals before choosing a mate.

The male eagles have to impress the female with their strength and agility which is shown in aerial maneuvers, cartwheeling, talon locking and a host of other observed behavior.

It is not yet exactly understood the specific parameters set by females for choosing a mate as some of these rituals are also observed in paired couples and even in antagonistic scenarios.

The males have to pass a series of tests to impress the female before she finally chooses one and once they have paired they begin the bonding process and also build their nests together.

They continue their aerial flights while taking months to complete the nest and build trust.

Eagle pairs do not breed in their first year of breeding, they only start raising a family in the second year.

When Is Eagle Mating Season

The mating season for eagles typically depends on their location. For example, eagles in areas such as Florida can start mating from around November to the middle of January.

In colder regions such as Alaska, mating season lasts from April to May. Colder regions have shorter breeding seasons due to the climate.

Once its breeding season, the eagle pair will copulate several times a day over a period of 5 days or more.

The female starts laying eggs 5 to 10 days after copulation and she will incubate her eggs for about 40 to 45 days. 

Eagles are poor layers and can only lay 2 to 3 eggs in one clutch. She begins incubation immediately she starts laying and the eggs hatch in the order in which they were laid.

How Often Do Eagles Mate?

During the breeding season, eagles can mate several times in a day.

Copulation activities start once the eagles return to their nests for the breeding season and continue through the periods of egg laying and even some months after.

If the eagle pair do not migrate and remain in their territory throughout the year, they will mate all through the year.

However, most eagles spend winters alone and as such mating can only continue when they both return to the nest for the next breeding season.


Eagles are one of the most interesting birds on earth, they are one of the largest birds of prey.

It is quite interesting to learn their familial values. Eagles engage in daring and dramatic courting rituals before the female picks a mate.

Once a pair is bonded, they spend the rest of their life together as eagles are monogamous in nature.

They build their nest together, mate and reproduce. Both the male and female are responsible for caring for their chicks till they are fully fledged.

It is quite interesting to learn these facts about the eagle.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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