Cannibalism in Steppe/Tawny Eagle?

posted in: Feeding-vertebrates, Raptors | 0

Willis’ image of an eagle feasting on the carcass of another eagle was photographed in the African plains of Kenya in October 2010 (above).

According to Willis, “I always have a hard time telling a Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis) from a Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)… wikipedia says Steppe Eagle was once considered to be closely related to Tawny Eagle and the two forms have previously been treated as conspecific. They were split later based on pronounced differences in morphology and anatomy.”

“As Steppe Eagles are migrants to Kenya while the Tawnys are residents, the image could be one of these combination: tawny feeding on tawny; tawny feeding on steppe; steppe feeding on steppe; steppe feeding on tawny; or none of the above,” wrote Willis.

According to Willis, the guide thought it was a Tawny Eagle feeding on the carcass. How the dead eagle died was not observed.

These eagles feed on a wide range of mammals, birds and reptiles. They also feed on insects and occasionally amphibians and fish. They regularly take carrion.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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