Why Do Eagles Pant? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

When eagles get hot, they do not sweat as they don’t have sweat glands. Also, their feathers will absorb the moisture and become wet.

So in order to cool down, they pant.

Furthermore, they can spread out their feathers to expose their skin and release heat. Fur completely envelops the bird’s skin when it is at its most relaxed state.

On the other hand, Feathers are individually linked to a separate muscle, allowing the bird to manipulate which feathers are exposed to the air.

Using this method, the heat is effectively removed from the room.

Feathers do not cover the entire bird; therefore, this method works. In between the “feather tracts,” where the feathers grow, there is naked skin.

As a result, the heat can be dissipated by shifting the feathers and revealing a bald spot.

Why Do Eagles Pant?

Why Do Eagles Pant

Eagles do get hot. The purpose of their feathers is to keep them warm during the winter.

To cool off, they pant openly, letting heat escape from their bodies or their unfeather feet and legs.

Nervousness is common with eagles. The presence of humans can put the eagles under stress and make them spend energy they don’t have.

As a result, these birds tend to avoid humans and become quite frightened when they spot one. 

Why Do Eagles Open Their Mouths?

The mouth of an eagle is normally closed when it is flying. Eagles expand their jaws to pant when they’re overheated or anxious.

For the same reason that dogs pant with their mouths open, birds cannot sweat. In terms of metabolic rate, eagles are among the top dogs.

Overheating is possible on hot days due to their metabolism and the surrounding temperature. 

The moisture movement from their lungs’ surface may help keep them cooler when they open their beaks to breathe.

It is believed that the cere near their nostrils provides a cooling purpose.

The birds’ panting may also get more frantic, or their mouths may open even wider in an effort to reduce their body temperature even further.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on why eagles usually build their nests high

What Happens When A Bald Eagle Gets Too Hot?

Eagles do not sweat when they become overheated; instead, they spread their wings to reduce their body temperature.

Simply changing their position helps them chill down. They’ll move their bodies away from the sun— so that only a little portion of their skin is exposed to the heat.

To avoid a pocket of insulating air from forming, birds do the reverse on hot days by de-fluffing their feathers to the point where none form at all.

On hot days, they will also expose their unfeathered body parts like their beaks, talons, and legs to allow heat to dissipate, and they may also lessen their activity level, similar to how we do when it’s hot.

Do Eagles Sweat?

Even though eagles don’t sweat, they stay cool by doing things like perching in the shade, panting, and holding back the tips of their wings.

In order to sweat, sweat glands must be present, which birds do not. Like many other endothermic species, Eagles expend energy in a different way than they do to cool down.

Birds depend on the evaporation of water from their lungs and air sacs.

When the temperature is higher, water evaporates faster, and as a result, they cool off faster in order to control their body temperature, they either pant or lose heat through their unfurred legs and feet.

How Does an Eagle Renew Its Strength?

Eagles renew their strength through the shedding of the old feathers.

While waiting for new feathers, the eagle stays close to the coast, guarding himself and consuming whatever food is available.

His strength will return after he gets his new feathers.

How Do You Know If an Eagle Is Too Hot?

If you find an eagle facing away from the sun with his wings spread out and the mouth open, then the bird is definitely hot.

Eagles have higher body temperature than humans, which means they feel more heat than we do.

Birds, like mammals, have a relatively narrow range of control over their core body temperature.

The average temperature range for birds is between 39 and 43 degrees Celsius (102-109 degrees F). 

The bird’s metabolism generates heat to keep it warm when the outside temperature is lower than the bird’s internal temperature.

However, if the temperature outdoors exceeds 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), the metabolic heat produced by the bird will cause it to become overheated.

As a result, the bird requires a means of cooling off.

Using gular fluttering (which looks like the bird vibrating its throat) and panting are the most noticeable ways a bird can use evaporative cooling.

These behaviors boost airflow across damp surfaces and increase evaporative cooling.

Also check out this article I wrote on do eagles break their beaks

Can Eagles Breathe Through Their Mouth?

Birds breathe through their nostrils and mouth using lungs. They breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide through the openings in the top of their beaks.

They breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide through the openings in the top of their beaks.

Birds can inhale and exhale using either their mouths or their nostrils (nares). A big tube extends from the throat called the trachea, which divides into two principal airways: the left and right (a.k.a. mesobronchi, with each bronchus leading to a lung).

Inhaled air travels through each principal bronchus before being divided: some air goes into the lungs for gas exchange, while the rest fills the body’s posterior (rear) air sacs.

During the first exhale, the lungs get fresh air from the posterior sacs and exchange gases.

This entering air displaces the spent air in the lungs, and it exits the body via the trachea.

A new supply of fresh air is drawn into the posterior sacs as well as the lungs during the second inhalation process.

Fresh air replaces the outgoing air in the lungs, but it cannot go by the trachea because new air is coming in.

Spent air in the lungs. Prior (forward) air sacs are where the lungs’ used air goes.

When you exhale, the spent air in the lungs and anterior sacs is expelled through the trachea, and fresh air from the lungs and posterior sacs is introduced for gas exchange.

During the eagle’s exhalation, the lungs receive the air that was previously in these air sacs.

Inhalation forces air from the lungs to pass through the interclavicular, thoracic, and anterior air sacs before returning to the lungs.

Air leaves the bird’s system when it exhales a second time, up the bronchus.


Eagle have higher body temperature than humans do; therefore, they feel the heat much more than us.

Birds have lots of feathers on their bodies to keep them warm during the cold period and flight.

However, during the hot season, they get hotter, so you see them panting, or their feather slightly spread out. This is done to help them release heat from their body. 

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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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