Do Eagles Eat Worms? Bald, Golden & Other Species

Eagles are the kings of the sky in the animal kingdom and are known as large raptors (yes, a close relative of the raptors you see in Jurassic Park!).

At first sight, other birds and animals cower in fear.

With their huge and scary beak, you’d be deceived to thinking that Eagles eat larger prey exclusively and won’t settle for a meal as small as worms but the reality is different.

The simple answer is yes, eagles eat worms. Bald eagles, Steppe eagles, the African Fish Eagle, and other eagles eat worms and enjoy the taste just as much as they love eating other animals. The only issue, is the size of the meal.

Worms are an easy delicacy for the eagles and can be of great benefit to their overall growth as worms contain essential nutrients like protein, fat, and fiber.

Eagles can go for a long time without eating, so worms are an appealing mini snack they can grab while stopping to catch their breath and wait for their next big meal.

It goes without saying that it can be quite hard to believe that our big and glorious eagles eat worms.

Well, in subsequent sections, your doubts will be cleared because this article will explore this in greater detail and discuss the feeding habits of different eagle species in relation to worms.

Are Worms a Big Part of an Eagles Diet?

Naturally, eagles are carnivorous and will prey on weaker animals apart from wolves, foxes, or any other apex predator that matches its strength and size.

Worms do not constitute the major diet of these majestic birds, they are just supplements and little things to snack on.

Eagles have a huge appetite and would prefer eating young birds, snakes, dead animals, squirrels, prairie dogs, and fish, among others.

So, worms are not on the top of their diet list or a staple part of their diet.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Worms?

As mentioned earlier, yes bald eagles eat worms.

Bald eagles eat worms not just because they contain protein, but because it is readily available, and quite easy to catch.

Bald eagles often follow the fall migration of geese and ducks; so they can feed on these birds injured by other animals or hunters.

During their early years, they feed on dead animals (carrions), while they sharpen their hunting techniques.

What Do Bald Eagles Eat Besides Worms?

Since most bald eagles live around freshwater habitats, bald eagles eat fish regularly.

They love to hunt catfish, shads, salmon, herring, reptiles, crabs, amphibians, and other birds; this happens due to their pescatarian tendencies.

Bald eagles also feed on other birds. Their primary target is invariably the waterfowl(herring) but also hunt and feed on any other bird that is available.

They are also known to eat snakes but are wise enough to know what species of snakes to eat.

If any other prey is available, the bald eagle will certainly not feed on snakes.

Bald eagles eat roadkill and also target rabbits, Raccoons, prairie dogs, hares, etc as their prey, but this happens occasionally.

Bald eagles would eat anything ranging from garbage, dead fish, and animals left behind by other animals.

They even go as far as stealing other animals’ catches right from their talons or mouth.

After eating a heavy meal, the bald eagle can go on for days without eating(Bald eagles are lazy birds)

Do Golden Eagles Eat Worms?

No, the Golden Eagle does not regularly eat worms, but will do if food is scarce.

More often, they feed on large insects, mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, carrion, ducks, lizards, foxes, jackrabbits, and young deers amongst many others.

The golden eagle can eat fairly medium to large animals. In the desert, for example, they’ll go for rabbits and prairie dogs or similarly sized live animals.

The complete list of what they will eat in the wild is a long one.

If it has meat and they are sized appropriately, these raptors will eat it.

Since they are scavengers, they also feed on the remains of other species (carrion meat) and ungulate when the opportunity occurs.

Baby golden eagles do not generally eat worms either; from the day they hatch, their parents start feeding them with smaller bits of raw meat.

It seems rare that the Golden Eagle will eat a worm but if food is thin on the ground, then the answer is that they absolutely would eat worms and any animal they can overwhelm for food.

Which Other Common Eagle Species Eat Worms?

The Martial Eagle

In the absence of food, the martial eagle stoops low to eat worms.

Being one of the most powerful and largest species of eagles, its prey selection ranges from birds, reptiles, worms, and mammals.

With their superb vision, they sight worms moving around in wet areas, watering holes, and vegetation areas from a far distance.

Harpy Eagles

These eagles do not hunt for prey every day, which gives them enough time to digest their protein intake.

They eat worms and maggots from rotten food which helps them survive.

They mostly feed on raccoons, iguanas, coatimundis, porcupines, parrots, and armadillos.

When their chicks are young, the mother feeds them with worms occasionally, alongside small bits and pieces of raw meat.

The crested serpent eagle

This eagle eats worms. Just as the name implies, it preys on snakes, frogs/toads, worms, birds, lizards, and termites.

The crested serpent eagle does this by carefully studying the ground, and picking and scattering fallen leaves.

Stellers Sea Eagle

This Eagle is also known as the white-shouldered eagle or pacific sea eagle.

Although they are the heaviest species of eagles, that does not stop them from feasting on worms occasionally.

They hunt by perching closely while observing the worms before diving down to pick them.

Other than worms, they also feed on birds, fish species, and small mammals.

Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagles eat squirrels as a main staple of their diet and other small mammals.

When squirrels are less common on the ground Steppe Eagles eat worms and other prey with no issues.

Phillipine Eagle

The phillipine eagle is a large, powerful eagle native to, you guessed it – the Phillipines – where it has even been given the name “monkey eating eagle”.

This should give you some idea of the size and power of these birds, who generally eat large birds, monkeys or animals like big lizards, flying lemurs.

Philippine eagles eat bigger prey and so worms aren’t really something they are known for eating, and there isn’t much information around their feeding habits when it comes to worms.

We imagine if a carnivorous eagle as powerful as this was hungry, it would most certainly eat whatever came its way – including worms.

Do Eagles Swoop Down to Get Worms?

Not immediately, they don’t, but once they’ve carefully scoped out the surroundings and acquired their target, they swoop down with precision to land their worm.

They land on trees that are close to the ground at first. Eagles hunt by observing the surroundings, before flying down and carefully finding the worms.

They also swoop down to catch larger prey like snakes, squirrels, and rabbits at tremendous speeds.

Though many species of eagle – for example, the crested serpent eagle – catch worms by first landing on the ground and rummaging through leaves looking for them before pulling them out of the ground.

This behavior by the bird has been observed in scientific studies.

Summary and Final Thoughts

Eagles love and live on proteins for their meals – So, yes, eagles eat and feed on worms.

They have become a vital part of our environment because they assist with nature’s clean-up by feasting on dead animals.

Eagles eat squirrels and all sorts of other larger prey as preferred prey but an eagle diet will certainly include worms.

Eagles can easily pick up worms and in a flash, the worms are no more.

Eagles represent strength and when they’re not preying on their usual prey like small mammals, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, chinchillas, raccoons, waterfowl, lizards, and fish, you’ll most likely find them tearing worms apart.

In most areas of the US, eagles have been caught in the action of eating worms before taking off.

Rest assured that these strikingly handsome and magnificent birds do not eat humans, or babies, as we noticed some questions of concern about this!

I hope this article has enlightened you and gives you the answer to the question on how eagles occasionally feed on worms, but generally prefer to eat larger birds and larger animals, depending on the size of the bird.