The Golden Eagle is a large, mostly dark eagle of open grasslands, arid hills, and mountains. Ranging south only into central Mexico and Baja, its distribution lies primarily within the United States and Canada. Golden Eagles are formidable hunters, preying upon medium-sized mammals and birds, which they capture through spectacular stoops from above, direct aerial pursuit, or low cruising ‘surprise and flush’ hunting tactics. Being a large raptor, Golden Eagles take 4-5 years to attain full adult plumage characteristics. Juveniles are distinctive throughout the first year, often showing bold white primary patches, and white tails with a crisp, black tip. 2-4 year-olds become progressively more adult-like with each molt. Golden Eagles nest mainly on cliffs, but will also use large trees when cliffs are not available.