Eagle feathers come in an amazing variety of shapes and patterns. From the long slender primary wing feathers that are knife shaped to wide flat tail feathers, no two are ever exactly the same. The barring and mottled patterns are mesmerizing and can be quite a challenge to reproduce.
While most people think of Native American eagle feathers as white with black tips, they are various shades of browns and whites. There are, of course two eagle species in North America, but they vary in appearance so much that they are often given different names. In the Lakota tradition, the two species were often thought of as four different eagles even though it was always known that they were only two species.
The immature golden eagle is the classic “black and white” tail feather used for headdress’s etc.
The mature golden eagles tail feathers, however, are mostly brown with darker barring and can sometimes be almost solid brown
All eagles take about five years to fully mature. Immature bald eagles have mostly brown tails feathers that eventually turn solid white. Because of this, immature bald eagles are often confused with golden eagles to the untrained eye. Immature bald eagles can be very spotted looking overall, and these birds are often called “Spotted Eagles” that are referred to in sacred Lakota songs as the eagle that bring healing.
(Not to be confused with the Spotted Eagle of northern Europe and the Middle East.)
The mature bald eagle has, of course solid white tail feathers. Strangely enough, its most common for immature eagles of both species to have longer tail feathers than mature birds do.
There are many species of eagles world wide. Eagle is the common name for many large birds of prey. Eagles belong to several groups, not all of which are closely related. Most of the 60 species of eagle are from Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just 14 species can be found—2 in North America, 9 in Central and South America, and 3 in Australia.
Eagle feathers were my very first earrings, and remain my most favorite to reproduce. When you purchase an eagle feather jewelry set from me you can count on no two sets ever being exactly alike. If you see something you would like reproduced from the photos here (or from any other bird for that matter) just ask!