Top Predators Of The Sky

Humans are trying to build new fighter jets and advanced planes, but nature is million miles ahead. Birds of Prey are the example of the power of nature. Some are fast and furious, others are with sharp eyes to see miles below from the sky. Here are some of the top predators of the sky.

Martial Eagle
The Martial Eagle is a very large eagle, with a length of 78–96 cm (31–38 in), weight of 3–6.2 kg (6.6–14 lb) and a wingspan of 188–260 cm (6 ft 2 in–8 ft 6 in). Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 56–67.5 cm (22–26.6 in), the tail is 27.2–32 cm (10.7–13 in), the tarsus is 9.7–13 cm (3.8–5.1 in). This is the largest eagle in Africa and is the fifth heaviest (on average) eagle in the world.
The Martial Eagle feeds on whatever it can catch, from Guinea fowl and other birds, to baboons, lion cubs, and even antelopes! Although capable of killing animals much larger than itself, it rarely does so, simply because it can’t carry such prey to a tree, and eating in the ground can be very dangerous if there are other predators around.
Martial Eagle eating steenbokIn search of the Maltese Falcon #10 - Steppe Eagle, Malta Falconry CentreMartial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus)

Steller’s Sea Eagle

Found in Russia and Japan, it feeds mostly on fish but sometimes attacks other large birds, such as cranes and swans, and even juvenile seals. It is also a scavenger, feeding on whatever dead animal it can find. It is the heaviest eagle in the world, weighing up to 9 kgs, and having a wingspan of almost 2.5 meters. It also has the largest and most powerful beak of any eagle. But these Eagles are decreasing day by day due to lead poisoning.

Steller’s Sea Eagles on sea ice near Rausu, Hokkaido

Steller's sea eagle

 

Blakiston’s Fish Owl

Blakiston’s Fish Owl is the largest living species of owl. A field study of the species showed males weighing from 3.15 to 3.45 kg (6.9 to 7.6 lb), while the female, at up to 3.36 to 4.6 kg (7.4 to 10 lb), i.e about 25% larger. Found in Siberia and Japan, this magnificent bird has a wingspan of 2 meters. It feeds mostly on fish.

毛腿魚鴞 blakiston`s fish owl 2

 

Golden Eagle

Found in North America, Eurasia and northern Africa, the Golden eagle is one of the most formidable aerial predators in the world; it usually feeds on rabbits, hares and large birds, but it has also been known to take foxes, young sheep and goats, and even adult deer and caribou. In Kazakhstan, where Golden Eagles are known as berkut, they are trained by nomadic hunters to hunt wolves! They also hunt and eat other birds of prey.

The Golden Eagle can weigh up to 7 kgs, and has a 2 meter wingspan. Females are larger and more aggressive than males. Fossils found in Europe suggest that they were even larger in prehistoric times, a few thousand years ago.

Steinadler - golden eagleAquila chrysaetos 1 (Bohuš Číčel)

Philippine Eagle

The Philippine Eagle, also known as the Monkey-eating Eagle. It is one of the several large eagles adapted to hunt in densely forested habitats, found exclusively in the Philippines. It can weigh up to 7 kgs, has a 2 meter wingspan and a spectacular feather “mane”. It feeds mostly on monkeys, flying lemurs (colugos), large bats, and even pigs and dogs.

Philippine EagleAlex

Bearded Vulture

Also known as the Lammergeier or Lammergeyer It is found in Europe, Asia and Africa. It can weigh up to 8 kgs and has a wingspan of over 3 meters. Bearded vultures are mostly scavengers; they are known to pick up the bones of dead animals and drop them from great heights, repeatedly if necessary, over a hard surface such as a cliff or a large rock. When the bone finally breaks open, the vulture feeds on the highly nutritious marrow. They are also known to kill tortoises and break open their shells by doing the exact same thing.

Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) 2Bearded vulture on white background

Lappet Faced Vulture

Lappet faced vultures are found in African savannahs and in Arabia. Although seldom mentioned among the largest flying birds, they are actually as large as American condors, with a wingspan of 3 meters and weighing up to 14 kgs. They also have much larger, sharper and more powerful beaks than condors. This is because, unlike condors, which are full-time scavengers, the Lappet-faced vulture is also an opportunistic predator, feeding on any animal it can subdue. It has been known to kill young gazelles and antelopes, and to prey on flamingo colonies.

This vulture prefers to live in dry savannah, thornbush, arid plains, deserts with scattered trees in wadis, open mountain slopes. They are usually found in undisturbed open country with a scattering of trees and apparently prefer areas with minimal grass cover. While foraging, they can wander into denser habitats and even into human habitated areas, especially if drawn to road kills. They may be found in elevation from sea-level to 4,500 m (14,800 ft)

Vultures scavenge on an elephant kill - journal.pone.0060797.g001-D


Tarangire 42Eurasian Eagle Owl

The Eurasian Eagle-Owl (Bubo bubo) is a species of eagle owl resident in much of Eurasia. It is sometimes called the European Eagle-Owl and is, in Europe where it is the only member of its genus besides the Snowy Owl (B. scandiacus), occasionally abbreviated to just Eagle-Owl. In India, it is often called the Indian Great Horned Owl, though this may cause confusion with the similarly-named American bird. It is one of the largest species of owls.

Weighing up to 4.3 kgs, with a wingspan of 2 meters, these owls are among the largest and most powerful, and although they feed mostly on rodents, rabbits and hares, they have also been known to take foxes, and even roe deer.

Eagle owlEurasian Eagle Owl

African Crowned Eagle

The Crowned Eagle, also known as the African Crowned Eagle or the Crowned Hawk-eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) is a very large, powerful, crested bird of prey found in sub-Saharan Africa.  Its staple diet consists of monkeys and other medium-sized mammals, such as the Cape Hyrax and small antelopes. To a far lesser extent, birds and large lizards are also taken. However, at least 90% of the diet is mammalian.

This eagle measures around 90 cms long and has a 2 meter wingspan. Crowned Eagle pairs breed once every two years; a single breeding cycle is of approximately 500 days in duration. Breeding can occur almost year-around throughout the range, though usually peaks in the first half of the year.

African Crowned Eaglecrowned-eagle-1

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