What Animals Eat Eagles?

Written by: Annemarie Dutton

As you are probably aware, some predators on a food chain are also prey. For example, many birds may eat small insects and fish, only to be eaten by larger birds or other predators.

Though eagles rarely find themselves being hunted instead of being the hunters, some animals do still eat them. Eagles are especially susceptible to becoming prey when they are very young, injured, or sick.

If you are curious about what animals eat eagles, please read on.

Are Eagles Apex Predators?

Eagles are apex predators because other animals do not typically hunt them. Instead, they hunt many different species lower down on the food chain.

While an adult eagle is an apex predator at the top of the food chain, various species can feed on its eggs and offspring: like hawks, tigers, snakes, etc.

Eagle nests are the focus area of eagle predators. Inside, they can find smaller eagle chicks that are vulnerable when left alone. In addition, many different animals take advantage of the absence of an adult eagle, especially the animals that can climb trees and reach eagle nests.

Adult eagles are often too high to be caught by other predators, although they can be preyed on if they’re crippled or injured enough not to be able to fly.

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Birds That Eat Eagles

Hawks

For thousands of years, eagles and hawks have been in rivalry about who rules the skies.  Hawks will be a constant threat to an eagle nest, especially an abandoned nest full of eaglets and eagle eggs. It is an excellent opportunity for the hawk to get a quick snack for themselves and their offspring.

Owls

Different owl species will have other food preferences. For instance, a larger owl, like the Eagle Owl, will feed on young birds, including bald eagle fledglings, to small mammals like young foxes and hares, while Screech owls and Scops feed primarily on insects.

Crows

Unlike owls, crows are omnivorous, which means they can eat both meat and plants. They can also eat almost anything since their dietary restrictions are pretty minimal, and that means they can feast on reptiles, small fish, dead animals, grains, seeds, and even other birds like young bald eagles and their eggs.

Crows are well-known for their tendency to raid bird nests, particularly during the spring months, and these eggs comprise a significant part of their diets.

Black-billed Magpies

Like other birds in the crow and jay family, also known as corids, black-billed magpies are opportunistic feeders and follow an omnivorous diet that varies widely depending on their environment. Some eat grains and wild fruits, while others eat insects and raid bird nests, including those of eagles.

Vultures

Eagles prefer to find their nest if they get injured quickly.  Older eagles that have become weak often fall to the ground, becoming a good “bait” for vultures and other animals lurking for an easy piece of food.

Other Eagles

Eagles usually have a set territory that they’ll rarely leave. But, sometimes, they might encounter food shortages in their area, so they’ll have to stray further away to provide for themselves and their nests.

They will most likely enter into the territory of another eagle. The other eagle can get defensive and territorial, as it will look to protect its nest,as this invading eagle might eat their offspring.

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Carnivores That Eat Eagles

Lions

Under normal circumstances, lions don’t hunt eagles, but they will probably take advantage of finding an injured eagle. Lions are unlikely to pass up an easy meal.

Mountain lions, though not technically lions, may also eat eagles. 

In North America, golden eagles share many of the same territories as mountain lions, and both hunt many of the same types of prey. But if a golden eagle is injured or otherwise compromised, it may become a mountain lion’s next meal.

Tigers

If the eagle flies too low, a tiger might be able to catch it. Once an eagle descends onto the ground to strike its prey, it might get surprised by a tiger that is 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.

Wolves

A wolf can kill an eagle that’s too weak to defend itself. Unfortunately, an eagle can be left stranded on the ground, unable to move or fly when that happens. And this is when a wolf will be one of the first animals to pounce and strike.

Omnivores Eating Eagles

Monkeys

Even monkeys crawl up to eagles’ nests and eat their offspring.  Their excellent climbing ability enables them to make their way up to the eagle nest and steal some eggs from it. Of course, it would prefer to eat eggs instead of chicks, but it can still be a nuisance for the eagle.

Raccoons

In terms of a raccoon’s diet, they are opportunistic and omnivorous feeders, so their environment dictates their diet greatly. Their most common food sources are crayfish, eggs, frogs, small rodents, insects, berries, nuts, plants, and fruits. However, they can also eat bird eggs and young hatchlings when the opportunity arises.

Other Animals That Eat Eagles

Snakes

Snakes present one of the biggest dangers for eagle nests. Most snake species are good climbers and can climb high up into tree branches, where eagle nests are typically located.

Some snake species will look to eat eggs, while others snakes will prefer eagle chicks.

Conclusion

Adult eagles are known as raptors, which means birds of prey.  While eagles do not face a significant number of natural predators, humans remain their biggest threat, and habitat destruction has resulted in their increasing death rates.

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