Oftentimes when I share pics of bald eagles I am asked how I know if it is a male or a female. While this image taken yesterday under overcast skies and in ridiculously blustery winds isn’t particularly great, it does serve as a nice educational capture.
Generally, female bald eagles will be about 20% bigger than the males, something the image shows clearly with the smaller male on the left, the bigger female on the right. The difference is quite noticeable in everything from their height and weight to the size of the talons.
Why are the females bigger? It is believed that since they do most of the incubating of young, their larger size helps them to better protect and cover their precious offspring. The male, being smaller, is more nimble and able to react quicker to threats while the female can remain in place guarding the young.
If you saw these two separately, you likely wouldn’t be able to identify their genders, but when perched together, it is obvious.