The word raptor is used, among other things, to refer to a group of animals also known as Birds of prey, which are considered as big predators within the ecosystems in which they inhabit, they are even at the same level of predation as certain hunting mammals.
These birds are endowed with various characteristics that allow them to have this ecological role mentioned, so that they are very efficient in capturing their prey. In this group we have eagles, which are quite striking and representative within the diurnal raptors, so much so that they have been used in various cultures and groups as a symbol of status or power. This AnimalWised article refers to them, specifically to how eagles hunt, so we invite you to continue reading it and to learn about its hunting techniques.You may also be interested in: Characteristics of eagles Index
- Characteristics of eagles as predators
- What animals do eagles hunt?
- How do eagles hunt their prey?
- Falconry and state of conservation of the eagles
Characteristics of eagles as predators
These birds belong to the genus Aquilas and the family Accipitridae, they have a wide range of distribution in various countries, with the exception of the poles. They are quite agile, fast animals, without a doubt majestic and are hugely stealthy. Among the main characteristics of the group that make them excellent predators we can mention:
- Some species of eagles are among the largest raptors in the world, like the bold eagleAquila audax), Australian native or royal (Aquila chrysaetos) and distributed in Europe, North America and Asia.
- In general, the weight of the different species can vary from 1.5 to 6.5 kilograms. As for their dimensions, they range from about 65 to almost 100 cm in height. Females are generally larger than males.
- The coloration of their wings varies from one species to another, but in general they tend towards colors dark brown and black, with the presence of white, gold or yellow, depending on the case.
- The wingspan of these animals can reach almost 3 meters of length.
- Possess sturdy, strong and pointed beaks ideal for tearing prey. As for their claws, they are also powerful and long, like the tarsi, which are covered with feathers. Some have legs devoid of plumage, while others do (booted eagles).
- Eagles possess a excellent vision. In fact, they have far superior eyesight even to humans thanks to their large pupils that considerably limit the scattering of light entering the eye. In this sense, an eagle can identify its potential prey at great distances.
- Their habitats are diverse and vary according to the species, being able to be found in lush forests or not, dry areas, alluvial plains, marshes, mountainous regions, semi-desert, wooded savannas and even urban areas.
For more information, we encourage you to read this other AnimalWised article on Characteristics of eagles..
What animals do eagles hunt?
Eagles are carnivorous animals with a very varied diet, which depends on the ecosystem in which it is found and the animals that live there. Among the various prey of the eagles, we find:
- Young goats
- Young deer
- Young wild boars
- Carrion (occasionally)
In this other article, we explain you in greater depth ¿What eagles eat?
How do eagles hunt their prey?
Eagles can put into practice various strategies to hunt their prey, which will depend mainly on the place where they are located and the size of the animal they have identified to attack. In general, they are stocky birds that can lift individuals with a weight a little more than their own, which is a very striking feature of these raptors..
Hunting in flight
One of the ways they have to capture other animals, specifically other birds, is what is known as hunting in flight. Once the eagle detects its prey, it follows it stealthily to avoid detection and, when it is close, spreads its mighty claws and captures it, usually dying immediately due to pressure exerted by the predator's legs.
This technique is developed by adult animals, young people lack experience to be able to execute it since it requires a lot of agility and strength to be carried out effectively.
Hunting in a dive or close to the ground
Another way they have to catch the birds is to fly upwards and then plummet rapidly, with which they manage to knock down the victim and capture her.
On the other hand, to catch a larger individual, they are able to fly close to the ground, chasing prey and, when they detect the right moment, attack, steadily grabbing the victim with their powerful claws.
Hunting from a tree or high place
Eagles can also glide in an area to track possible food. Once they identify it, they perch on a tree or a high place that offers them visibility, thus monitoring possible prey. Then, when it gets closer to the place where the bird is perched, swoops in to capture her.
Other hunting techniques for eagles
It has also been identified that some of these large species are capable of knocking down and attacking prey such as caribou or deer.
On the other hand, when food is scarce, (a fact that is occurring more regularly in some intervened areas), eagle prey decreases, leading these species to carrion consumption.
In general, the eagles can consume the hunted food in the same place of the fact, transfer it completely to the nest or in parts if necessary.
¿When eagles hunt?
Eagles are considered diurnal raptors, which means they hunt during the day. In addition, they usually do it alone, except for some species, which at specific moments can cooperate to hunt certain prey..
Next, we leave you a video of an eagle hunting so you can see some of the hunting methods of these animals.
Falconry and state of conservation of the eagles
Eagles, as well as other birds of prey, were identified as excellent hunters for centuries, so falconry developed, which consists of training these animals to capture other species of birds or mammals of interest to humans. However, at present, the use of them for this activity is not as developed.
These birds have not escaped the attack of people, since for a long time they were considered harmful when feeding on animals that were raised for human use, which resulted in the mass hunting of eagles. Among the various species of eagles, some are currently in a vulnerable state and others in danger of extinction, mainly due to the destruction of their habitats, drastically influencing them, given the decrease in food availability..