How Far Can an Eagle See? [Exploring the Limits of Eagle’s Vision]

how far can an eagle see

Eagles are among the most powerful birds of prey in the world with their impressive wingspans and beautiful plumage. But what’s the farthest an eagle can see?

Generally, predatory birds have a remarkable vision, but eagles are the best. They can see eight times farther than humans and spot something from about 2 miles away! 

In this article, I’ll explore the limits of the eagle’s vision and how sharp eyesight helps the bird thrive in the wild. Read on to discover more!


How Good is An Eagle’s Eyesight?

The eyesight of a bald eagle is 8x sharper than a human’s, and it can see up to 2 miles away. 

eagles eyesight

This bird has incredible vision and can spot prey and predators from great distances. The eagle flies high in the sky and uses its sight to locate food and territory intruders.

Eagles have remarkably sharp vision because their eyes have two foveae (areas of acute vision) compared to just one fovea in humans. 

The eagles’ foveae cones are extremely small and tightly grouped, allowing them to see small details from a great distance.

What Does an Eagle Eye See?

Eagles use their peripheral vision to see objects they can’t focus on with central vision. This is because they have a much wider field of view than humans. 

eagle eye see stuff

They can also see in color and have sharper vision than humans when it comes to identifying objects like prey or predators. 

An eagle’s two eyes provide it with a nearly panoramic view. They can see a squirrel running from over two miles away. 

The eagle’s eye also allows it to see through ultraviolet light perception and track a tiny prey from the sky by the UV beams reflected from its wet skin or urine.

What Makes an Eagle’s Eyesight so Exceptional?

Eagles have a 340-degree field of vision because their eyes are angled at 30 degrees from the midline of their faces.They have better peripheral vision than owls but are not quite as sharp as a woodcock, whose field of vision unfolds up to 360 degrees.

How Does a Perfect Eyesight Benefit the Eagle?

Like many other birds of prey, Eagles are equipped with keen eyesight that helps them spot prey from a distance and is one of their main tools in hunting. 

To hunt successfully, eagles need the capability to see their food from a long distance away before attacking, meaning they must have perfect eyesight.

The sharp eyesight also helps them spot predators or intruders from a far distance and hide or prepare to protect their territory.

What Factors Hinder an Eagle’s Ability to See Far?

Like humans, eagles don’t have the eyesight to see everything, and certain factors hinder this sense. 

Below are some of the factors that hinder an eagle’s ability to see far:

  • Pollution, especially dust, pollen, and other particulates in the air
  • The weather conditions, especially when it’s foggy 
  • The eagle’s age. A chick or an overly old eagle can’t see far.
  • The eagle’s health, including blindness in one eye
  • Time of day
  • The type of terrain

Can Eagles See at Night?

Yes, eagles can see during the nighttime; however, they can’t see as well as we do due to a lack of eye cells that help enhance night vision.

Eagles are capable of flying at night, but they can’t because of their poor night vision. 

Due to their lack of rod cells in their eye retinas, they can’t see well in the dark, but they might fly at night if necessary.

Generally, eagles can’t see very well in low-light conditions or at dawn. Sometimes, eagles prefer to use their sense of hearing to find prey.

Can Eagles See Ultraviolet Light?

Eagles can see in color and can see more colors than humans. They can see ultraviolet light, aiding in hunting as they can see their prey’s UV-absorbent urine.

However, this type of sight comes with its drawbacks. Some birdwatchers speculate that this sensitivity is one reason eagles don’t like daylight; it’s too bright for them!

At Which Height Can Eagle See?

Depending on what kind of eagle, they could reach altitudes 10,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level. 

the height eagle can see

From this viewpoint, the eagle’s superb vision allows it to spy on prey or predators from a far distance.

Eagles can fly as high as 10,000 feet at 100 miles per hour and dive into prey at a speed of about 150mph! 

However, at these heights, there’s less oxygen available for the eagle, and flying becomes more difficult, meaning it won’t stay there for a prolonged time.

Which Eagle has the Best Vision?

Generally, the truth is that bald eagle has better vision than other eagles. Its acuity is approximately 7 to 8 times greater than a human’s.

An excellent illustration of the popular phrase “eagle eye” is the bald eagle. 

There are many eagles in the world, each with a different vision. But when it comes to which eagle has the best vision, that is up for debate. 

Some birdwatchers think American bald eagles have better sight than golden eagles because they can see things from a greater distance. 

Others say golden eagles have better eyesight because they can easily spot prey. The bottom line is that all eagles have exceptional eyesight!

Who has Better Eyesight, Hawk or Eagle?

Although their vision differs in terms of depth and magnification, eagles and hawks can see things at 20 feet.

However, in terms of the best of the best eyesight, hawks can spot prey from further away than other eagle species except for the bald eagle. 

For example, a hawk with a visual acuity of 1.6 can spot prey from 2 miles away, while an eagle with a visual acuity of 3.2 can spot prey from over 1 mile away.

Are the Eagle Eyes Bigger than Humans?

Eagle eyes are not only beautiful because they’re piercing but also because they’re so large. 

An eagle’s eyes are the same size and weight as human eyes but usually weigh around 10 pounds (4.5kg).

Their larger eyes have more light-sensitive cells that can detect and process more information than smaller ones. 

Can an Eagle See a Vole from Two Miles Away?

An eagle can probably see a vole from about two miles away, but it depends on what kind of vole. 

eagle see a vole from two miles away

If we’re talking about a big mouse, then yes. But if we’re talking about a small rat, it could be much farther away and still be visible to the eagle.

Generally, the vole’s UV-absorbent urine reflects the light, which helps the eagle to the animal easily from a huge distance.

Can Eagles See with their Eyes Closed?

One of the eagle’s most extraordinary eyesight features is that it can see even with closed eyelids. 

Not only does the eagle have the normal eyelids found on any animal, but it has another pair called nictitating membranes. These eyelids can be shut without affecting the eagle’s vision.

These membranes are transparent and wet and work like goggles underwater to protect the eagle’s eyes from debris, dust, or animal attack. 

When hunting, the eagle will close these additional eyelids so that he can more easily focus on catching prey in his talons rather than keeping his eyes safe.

The Most Common Misconceptions About Eagle’s Eyesight

The most common misconception about eagles is that they can see up to 10  miles away. 

This figure has been widely cited as fact for many years, but more recent reflections have shown it to be much less than that. Generally about 2 miles on a good day!

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