An adult eagle is an apex predator, but various species can feed on its offspring like other raptors such as hawks, big cats like tigers and cougars, wolves, snakes, other eagles, bears, and injured hawks get preyed on by vultures and other larger mammals in the area.
Eagle nests are the main focus area of eagle predators. Inside, they’ll find smaller eagle chicks that are vulnerable if left alone. Many different animals take advantage of the absence of an adult eagle, especially the animals that are capable of climbing trees and reaching eagle nests.
However, adult eagles are right at the top of the food chain in most of their habitats. They’re often too high to be caught by other predators, although they can be preyed on if they’re crippled or injured enough to not be able to fly.
Let’s take a look at which animals are capable of threatening eagles and their offspring.
7 Animals that Eat Eagles
Hawks and eagles have a long-standing rivalry in place. For thousands of years, these two animals have been wrestling for control over the sky, although the adult specimens will often try to avoid each other.
But if they find a chance to spoil the day for each other, they’ll do exactly that. Hawks will be a constant threat to an eagle nest, especially an abandoned nest full of eaglets and eagle eggs. It’s a good opportunity for the lurking hawk to get a quick snack for themselves and their offspring.
On the other hand, an eagle is capable of fending off a hawk attack, too. It’s too powerful for the hawk and if it catches it in the middle of the nest raid, it often ends badly for one animal or the other. The hawk normally takes the brunt of the beating during these fights.
If the eagle flies too low, a tiger might be able to prowl on it and catch it. These two animals share their habitats especially in warmer areas of Africa. Once an eagle descends onto the ground to strike its prey, it might get surprised by a tiger that was also eyeing the same prey the eagle has attacked.
But this doesn’t happen very often. It will only happen if the eagle gets too low and leaves itself vulnerable to a tiger attack, or if the eagle is crippled and unable to move or defend itself. Tigers will instead look for other, easier types of prey that are on the ground and can be defeated by brute force and speed.
A wolf is able to kill off an eagle that’s too weak to defend itself. When that happens, an eagle will be left stranded on the ground, unable to move or fly. And that’s when a wolf will be one of the first animals to pounce and strike.
Snakes present one of the biggest dangers for eagle nests. Most snake species are good climbers and are able to climb high up into tree branches, which is where eagle nests are normally located.
Some snake species will look to eat eggs, while others snakes will prefer eagle chicks. Both can be found in nests, especially when they’re unprotected by an adult eagle that’s flown off to find some food for their babies (see also: do snakes eat birds?).
But raptors are aware of this threat, which is why they’ll often form close clusters of families. Male and female eagles will collaborate closely until their nests are safe and the eaglets are able to leave the nest and live on their own. This means that either a female or male eagle will be constantly protecting its nest until the babes grow big enough.
Related: Do Eagles Eat Snakes?
Yes, even monkeys sometimes crawl up to the eagle nests and eat their offspring! They’re good climbers, so they’re able to make their way up to the eagle nest and steal some eggs from it. It will prefer to eat eggs instead of chicks though, but it can still be a slight nuisance for the eagle.
They don’t like it if eggs go missing, which is why they’ll try to stay near the nest most of the time. Monkey will prefer unprotected nests that make it easy for them to get a good snack and a good dose of protein.
6. Other Eagles
Eagles usually have a set territory that they’ll rarely leave. This territory can be anywhere between 1-6 square miles large. But sometimes, they might encounter food shortages in their area so they’ll have to wander further away to provide for themselves and their nests.
That means they’ll likely enter into the territory of another eagle, which can spell danger. The other eagle can get defensive and territorial, as it will look to protect its nest. However, the attacking eagle will also look for chances to steal from the opponent’s nest if it’s left unprotected. They might eat their offspring.
Eagles also attack each other over a mate, or over food. But even though these fights can get quite fierce, they’ll rarely result in deaths. Instead, the losing eagle will leave before it’s harmed too much to be able to move.
If an eagle does get harmed so much that it’s not able to fly, it will drop to the ground. This leaves it vulnerable to various predators and vultures that might be lurking around to get their reward for their patience.
That’s why eagles prefer to find their nest if they do get injured as quickly as possible, and they’ll back away from fights if they believe they’ll get injured. But older eagles that remain powerless often fall to the ground, becoming a good “bait” for vultures and other animals lurking for an easy piece of food.
Eagles are also Predators!
Eagles are apex predators, meaning they’ll catch almost anything they can while also not being hunted on by other animals – that goes for adult eagles, at least.
Eagles will feed on smaller rodents, mammals, birds, and insects to provide for themselves and their nests. They have strong eyesight, allowing them to spot their prey from miles away, especially if they’re eyeing a larger piece of prey.
They’re also known for having strong claws and powerful wings, so one blow with their claws might be enough to kill their prey with just one strike. They give their prey little or no chance of escaping as they strike silently and powerfully to defeat their prey quickly.
Eagles will also prey on larger animals, although they’ll only do that if the animal is compromised or unable to move. That’s rare, though – they prefer easier targets like rabbits, fish, mice, coastal birds, and other medium-sized mammals.
Eagles don’t have many natural predators. They fly high up above other species, giving them control over their territory and free choice when it comes to their prey. However, if they leave their nests unattended, many types of predators will take the chance to storm them.
Snakes, other eagles, and hawks, as well as other agile climbers, are able to get to their nests and steal eggs and eagle chicks. Adult eagles don’t get preyed on often, though. They’re truly the kings of their territories.
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