` `

Eagles Do Not Live to 70 by Self-Mutilating

Adam Warner Adam Warner
23rd July 2021
Eagles Do Not Live to 70 by Self-Mutilating
The oldest known eagle lived to be 46 (Getty Images).

The Claim

Eagles can live for up to 70 years. In order to reach this age, at 40 years old, the animal must tear off its own beak, detach its claws, and tear out its feathers. The removed parts will slowly grow back, allowing the bird to live another 30 years.

Emerging story

The claim has been circulating on social media since as far back as 2007. It recently made a resurgence across Facebook in July of 2021.

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

We found a number of inaccuracies in this viral claim. The average lifespan of a wild eagle is 20 to 25 years, with the oldest known bald eagle reaching 38 years of age. In captivity, eagles can live a bit longer, potentially for up to 50+ years. The oldest known captive golden eagle lived for 46 years. It is highly unlikely that any eagle would reach 70 years old.

Further, Misbar discovered that eagles do not purposely remove their beaks and talons. Eagle beaks are made of keratin, the same material as fingernails. While an eagle’s beak can regrow, the growing portion of the beak that’s closest to the eagle’s body usually won’t if it is damaged. Additionally, an eagle’s beak and talons are critical for them to be able to feed themselves. If they were to lose either one, the bird would starve before the parts were able to grow back.

Eagles do not remove their feathers at any time during their lives either. Adult eagles go through a regular process of molting, replacing their flight feathers about once a year. Therefore, there is no need for the bird to “tear its worn feathers” in order for them to grow back. Furthermore, an eagle’s feathers help to preserve its body heat in cold environments as well as keep it from overheating. Without them, hypothermia would be a real risk. Losing its feathers would make the bird unable to fly as well, making it vulnerable to predators and starvation.

Misbar’s Classification


Misbar’s Sources

Read More

Most Read