Tawny Eagle Steals Prey From Mate


Mar 9 2016
 
 
 
Kerry Balaam, owner of Kruger Pride Safaris and her guests were travelling towards Crocodile Gate Bridge, when she slowed down to watch some southern ground hornbills. Then, out of the corner of her eye she spotted an eagle wing its way down into an old knob thorn tree. Kruger Pride Safaris offers half & full day trips into the Kruger National Park, and is a preferred operator which forms part of the Latest Sightings portfolio, (a crowdsourcing app which shares real-time game-viewing sightings and can be downloaded here iPhone/iPad & Android and also ), and together assist in bringing you great vacations and wildlife experiences. 
 
Kerry who has been guiding since 2010 says, “This particular sighting was at approximately 5pm, just before sunset. The eagle left a trail of feathers in the wind. And it was apparent the eagle had swooped down and caught a spotted thick knee (a brown and white spotted bird and resident to open areas), and had taken it to perch”. The party watched as the eagle de-feathered this smaller bird. Kerry continues, “At the time I had thought the eagle had killed the bird on impact, but after a couple of minutes the bird started to struggle against the eagle. We sat and watched as the eagle dismantled the bird. Eventually it died.”
 
Shortly thereafter another tawny eagle arrived on the scene to investigate. “It became evident what the new arrival was after! It wanted to steal the prey from its mate”, says Kerry. The females in most raptors are slightly larger than the male. They are extremely good hunters. Hunting things like small birds, lizards and sometimes mammals as large as hares. They also eat carion and therefore can also be found around carcasses, and they also frequently steal food from other birds such as storks. Kerry explains, “Typically tawny eagles will either hunt from its perch, or from in flight. It swoops down and catches its prey in its powerful talons and flies back to its perch where it begins to eat its catch.”
 
What is interesting is that the tawny eagle is a monogomous bird which partners up for life. Kerry explains, “They will have their nesting period between April and July, usually laying two eggs, sometimes even three. They incubate between 39-44 days. The older chick is known to sometimes kill its siblings. These birds usually live up to about sixteen years.”  Currently there are a few pairs that reside in the Crocodile Bridge area. They are a territorial bird more so in the  dry mating season. Kerry says, “They can become gregarious during non-mating season so a few eagles can be seen hanging around with each other.”
 
Kerry concludes, “At Kruger Pride Safaris, we like to get to know our guests on a more personal level so we can give our clients an experience that lasts a lifetime. Guests can expect us to go the extra mile to show them what the Kruger has to offer. Not just the “Big 5”, but all the other amazing things that make the park buzz. We want our guests to return home with a smile! And to have had an experience that they can go home and share with others. Some guests travel far, and for some its an opportunity of a lifetime that they have worked hard to save for. And its our job to ensure they return home feeling like it was worth all the hard work that they put in. And to hopefully turn our passion into their passion. My passion for wildlife grows more everyday as I share experiences with guests.”  

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