White-bellied Sea Eagle: 2. Attack by crows

posted in: Interspecific, Nesting, Raptors | 2

Samson Tan earlier documented a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) nesting high up a communication tower. The two adults were ever vigilant as there was a chick in the nest. One of the adults was always around, either in the nest with the chick or perching nearby.

On this fateful day, the purported male eagle arrived with food for both the chick and the female. The moment he flew off to forage, intruders in the form of a pair of crows arrived. The female was ready and tried to chase the intruders away (above). But the crows were aggressive and determined to raid the nest. The female left the nest unguarded to give chase. There was a high altitude chase, with one crow actively mobbing her while the other flying nearby (below).

This was obviously a strategy to engage the lone eagle while the other crow went for the chick in the nest. However, the eagle suddenly stopped her aerial chase and returned to the nest. Just in time, she found the other crow about to pounce on her chick and succeeded in chasing it away (below).

The entire episode took about 30 minutes, from the arrival of the crow to the aerial chase and mobbing, ending in successfully repelling the coordinated attack.

Based on the image (above right), Marcus Ng believes that the attackers were Large-billed Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos) rather than House Crows (Corvus splendens) (See comment by budak below).

This is a re-post of the account appearing in Manta’s Experience… on 17th March 2009. Thanks to Samson Tan for permission to share his observations with BESG and for use of his images.

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2 Responses

  1. based on the final photo, they look more like Large-billed Crows than House Crows.

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  2. Thanks budak. Have amended.

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