Eagles stand out among birds due to their ability to carry heavy loads swiftly and effortlessly, thanks to their robust wings and substantial size.

The terrifying spectacle of an eagle swiftly swooping in and seizing its prey is a common narrative in stories and videos, demonstrating their formidable power.

This prompts a frequently posed question: How much weight can an Eagle carry?

Bird experts and researchers maintain that a bird, under favorable conditions, cannot carry more than its own body weight.

What is the Lifting Capacity of an Eagle?


In 2018, a remarkable video circulated widely on Fox News.

A photographer in Washington State was documenting a red fox that had caught and killed a rabbit when an eagle rapidly descended and attempted to snatch the rabbit from the fox’s jaws.

The eagle exhibited immense power as it hoisted both the fox and rabbit into the air, ultimately causing the struggling fox to release the rabbit.

The weight an eagle can lift varies by species, with general estimates ranging from 3 to 20 pounds.

For instance, the formidable harpy eagle can carry a maximum of 20 pounds, while a golden eagle can lift 12-15 pounds, nearly its total body weight.

What Contributes to an Eagle’s Strength?

Eagles are potentially the world’s strongest birds.

Their strength stems chiefly from their muscular legs, extended talons, and wide wingspans, which enable them to securely grip prey and ascend above storms to avoid them.

What Factors Influence an Eagle’s Ability to Lift Maximum Weight?


Several elements contribute to the weight an eagle can carry, which include:

Speed, Momentum, and Wingspan:

The carrying capacity of a bird is directly influenced by its wingspan.

A broader, stronger wingspan significantly aids an eagle in lifting weights.

Furthermore, the quicker the bird grabs the load without landing, the higher the likelihood of lifting it, as increased momentum enhances its capability.

The Age of the Eagles:

While young eagles are vivacious, their legs and talons lack the strength to hoist heavy loads. As eagles age, their talons become stronger.

Direction and Position of the Load:

The manner and position in which the load is carried play a role in how easily an eagle can lift it.

For instance, if the load is taken from downhill or if it moves in the same direction as the eagle, the task becomes easier.

Similarly, the positioning of the load, whether it’s streamlined or against the wind, and whether the animal is carried by its tail or on its back, can impact how long an eagle can maintain the load.

Status of the Prey – Dead or Alive?


Carrying dead prey poses less trouble for an eagle, as there is no resistance.

However, live prey can make the task more challenging due to struggling, scratching, and clawing, often forcing the eagle to release it.

Nevertheless, these conditions may not always coexist. If an eagle attempts to carry a load without the right conditions, failure is a possibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an eagle weigh?

Depending on the species, an eagle can weigh between 6 and 20 pounds. They can grow to a length of 90-108 cm and have a wingspan of approximately 2–3 meters.

What do eagles eat?

Eagles are carnivorous and efficient predators. Their diet includes mammals, reptiles, rodents, and even other birds, whether alive or dead.

How far can an eagle see prey?

An eagle’s vision is eight times better than that of a human. This superior sight allows an eagle to spot prey from two miles away without being detected.

Can an eagle carry a dog?

Yes, an eagle has the capacity to lift a dog into the air, depending on the dog’s size and weight. This was depicted in the film The Proposal, where a bald eagle easily lifted a small dog.

However, dogs are generally safe since eagles tend to avoid human contact.

If a dog wanders off into the woods, though, it becomes potential prey for eagles.

Can eagles lift a cat?

Indeed, an eagle can lift a house cat as most cats weigh less than the body weight of many eagles. Even though eagles seldom hunt cats due to their swift evasion skills and sharp claws, a cat could become prey if the opportunity presents itself.

What size of dog can an eagle carry?

Eagles can typically lift more than half their body weight. Thus, a large eagle, such as the bald eagle, can carry a small dog weighing up to 4 or 5 pounds.

Can an eagle carry a deer?

Surprisingly, yes. An eagle can carry a deer for a brief period, although this is a rare occurrence. Only adult eagles, with their stronger legs, can lift a deer into the sky.

Can an eagle carry a cow?

While eagles are incredibly powerful and can carry prey as large as a mule deer, they are incapable of lifting a cow or a calf.

Can an eagle kill a wolf?

Yes, a trained eagle can kill a wolf, but only if it attacks from behind and strikes a vulnerable spot.

Can an eagle lift a baby?

Yes, an eagle can lift a baby, as evidenced by a viral video showing a golden eagle attempting to carry a baby from a park.

However, the child was too heavy for the eagle, which dropped the baby. It’s crucial to keep children close for safety.

Can an eagle lift an adult human?

Although an eagle can lift a baby, it cannot lift an adult, regardless of the eagle’s species, size, or strength.

The average adult weighs 135 lbs., and an eagle cannot carry more than half its weight.

How many eagles will it take to lift an adult?

An average adult human weighs about 135 lbs. Hence, it would require about 9 to 10 bald eagles to lift an unconscious adult from the floor.

Can an eagle crush a human skull?

Shockingly, yes. An eagle can crush a human skull. Their powerful talons can exert a pressure of up to 530 Pascal, enough to crush a human brain.

What bird can carry the most weight?

The American Harpy Eagle, which can grow up to 4ft with a wingspan of up to 8ft, can carry a load of about 20 pounds. This is almost equivalent to if not more than, its total body weight.

How Much Weight Can an Eagle Carry: Summary

The weight of an eagle and its ability to lift objects hinge largely on factors such as the species, size, wingspan, age, speed, direction, and momentum.

As mentioned earlier, while eagles are incapable of lifting adults, they can potentially seize small children.

Therefore, during park visits or outdoor activities, it’s imperative to remain vigilant of large birds and ensure that children stay within close proximity.