Could an Unarmed Human Beat a Bald Eagle?

by duceditor

Bald eagles are not the largest eagles, but they’re still very powerful. Although humans tend to think of birds as posing no threat to them, it’s important to remember that humans have trained some eagles to hunt large prey, including wolves. Still, it’s a tall order on the bird’s part to ask if they can take on a human being in a battle. Yet, we have to wonder, will an unarmed human beat a bald eagle in a fight?

Bald eagles have incredible speed.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. You should never fight a wild animal unless you’re under attack by the animal. That’s especially true of the bald eagle since it’s a protected species. With all that in mind, let’s compare the strengths and weaknesses of a human and a bald eagle and see which one would win in a battle and why!

Comparing an Unarmed Human and a Bald Eagle

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between an Unarmed Human and a Bald Eagle?

How do we know if an unarmed human being can beat a bald eagle? Well, every fight in the wild comes down to a few different factors. In this case, we believe that five different elements like size, speed, defenses, offenses, and predatory behaviors ultimately determine the outcome of a fight.

We’re going to compare each of these elements between a human and a bald eagle. By the time we’ve finished these comparisons, we’ll have a complete overview of this fight and its likely outcome. Let’s see what would go down in this battle!

Unarmed Human vs. Bald Eagle: Size

Are Humans mammals
Humans are significantly larger than bald eagles.©michaeljung/

Humans are much bigger than bald eagles. The average human stands between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 9 inches and can weigh almost 200 pounds. Of course, they can get even larger. Bald eagles only weigh between 6 and 14 pounds, and they have a wingspan of up to 7.5 feet!

Unarmed humans have a significant size advantage.

Unarmed Human vs. Bald Eagle: Speed

Bald eagles are faster than humans. The average bald eagle can fly at a speed of 30 mph just by flapping its wings. Yet, their most impressive speeds come from their dives. They can dive at scorching speeds of 75 to 100 mph!

Humans are not nearly as swift, running at 6 to 8 mph on average and reaching 27.5 mph at their greatest recorded speed.

Bald eagles have a significant speed advantage.

bald eagle in flight
Bald eagles are large flying birds and fierce predators.©PHOTOOBJECT/

Unarmed Human vs Bald Eagle: Defenses

Bald eagles rely on their speed and ability to fly to stay safe from predators. Once they take flight, it’s hard to harm them unless another raptor attacks. They have a great sense of sight that they use to locate danger, but they don’t have much to protect them in the event of a serious attack.

Humans have good senses to locate and avoid danger. We also have a high level of intelligence and ingenuity to hide from danger or escape it using different means like constructing shelters or traps. Yet, our personal defenses are not that serious, and even a canine can prove fatal to a human.

Both creatures are about even in terms of their unique defensive strategies.  

Unarmed Human vs Bald Eagle: Offensive Capabilities

bald eagles perched over water
Bald eagles have bodies built for hunting.©FloridaStock/

By making weapons, humans have risen to the position of the most dangerous animals on the planet. Unarmed humans are not so effective. Our bites only deliver about 160 PSI of power using small teeth. We can punch, kick, grapple, strangle, and otherwise strike enemies, though.

Also, the strength of an average person is not overwhelming. A strong person can lift their body weight with their arms and squat about one and a half times their weight. That’s not very strong relative to many other primates.

Eagles rely on their talons and beak to kill prey. They dive at their prey, sometimes killing it right away by pinning it with one leg and attacking with the other or using their beak to finish off creatures. Their talons measure 2 inches in length, and their beak measures about 3 inches long.

Between their amazing dive speed and their ability to overwhelm their prey, bald eagles are effective hunters.

Relative to their size and needs, bald eagles have an offensive advantage because their bodies are built for hunting with their built-in weapons.

bald eagle just caught a fish
Bald eagle with a fish in its talons©FloridaStock/

Unarmed Human vs Bald Eagle: Predatory Behavior

Bald eagles and humans are both hunters. However, humans are very limited in the results they can produce without tools or weapons. In fact, it would be safer to say they are more akin to gatherers without any resources as they would be in this fight. With weapons, it can be argued that humans are the most dominant predators ever to exist.

Meanwhile, bald eagles are ambush predators that strike from the sky, grabbing and killing their prey swiftly. They can grasp fish from the water and fly away with them, tangle with other birds, or dive bomb and kill mammals.

Any way you look at it, bald eagles are the superior predators compared to unarmed humans.  

Who Would Win in a Fight Between an Unarmed Human and a Bald Eagle?

An unarmed human will come out as a winner in a battle against a bald eagle.©restyler/

An unarmed human would beat a bald eagle in a fight. We have to imagine that the bald eagle and the human are set on fighting each other. Otherwise, this would never happen. If both parties were aware they had to fight the other, the first strike would come from the bald eagle.

The eagle would probably dive-bomb the human, seeking to attack the person’s vulnerable head and neck. If the eagle manages to score a direct hit with its sharp talons on one of the major arteries or veins in the neck, the human could die. That’s assuming a lot, though. Instead, the eagle would probably only dive in and attack once before the human swats it away.

bald eagle claw
A close-up of an American Bald Eagle’s claw.©

Sensing that it is not large enough to fight this battle, the bird would probably fly in the air, and come back to continue the fight. This time, the bloodied human is ready for it. The human would grab the bird and dive to the ground, breaking one of the bird’s wings and leaving it unable to get away.

From there, the human would deliver vicious punches, kicks, and elbows to finish off the bird. The chances are good that a human standing its ground would survive this battle. People may not be the deadliest animals when they’re unarmed, but they’re smart and resourceful enough to weigh down a bird and kill it.

However, it is important to remember that the bald eagle is a protected bird in the United States. Even though the human being may beat the bird in a battle to the death, the fact is that they would have a hard time explaining that to a park ranger.

What Is The Largest Eagle In The World?

Largest Eagles in the World: Philippine Eagle
The Philippine eagle is one of the most endangered bird species in the world. It is believed that less than 500 pairs survive in the wild.©Michal Lukaszewicz/

While many people may think the bald eagle is the largest eagle, there is another bird of prey that looms even larger – the giant Philippine eagle. This giant is considered the largest in terms of length and wing surface and has an average wingspan of over 7 feet.

Branded as “monkey killers”, even though this is only a rare occurrence, their average diet consists of flying lemurs, hornbills, fruit bats, snakes, squirrels, owls, rats and monitor lizards. A crucial threat to this species is habitat loss and deforestation.

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