Can Crowned Eagles Kill Humans?


Can Crowned Eagles Kill Humans?

Crowned eagles are large birds of prey found in Central and Southern Africa, known for their power and hunting prowess. While these majestic birds primarily feed on mammals, there have been rare instances where they have attacked and killed human children.

Can Crowned Eagles Attack Humans?

Yes, crowned eagles have been known to attack and kill human children, although such incidents are rare. These powerful birds have strong legs and large talons, making them capable of taking down prey weighing up to 30kg.

In one documented case, a 7-year-old boy was attacked by a crowned eagle, which gouged its talons through the boy’s throat and chest. The attack was ended by a woman who came upon them and bludgeoned the eagle to death with a hoe.

Another instance involved the discovery of a human child’s skull in the nest of a crowned eagle pair, suggesting that the eagles may have taken the child as prey. Additionally, a four-year-old girl was believed to have been the victim of a crowned eagle after a severed arm of a child was found in a tall tree inaccessible to leopards and known to be used as a crowned eagle cache.

Crowned Eagles’ Hunting Abilities

can crowned eagles kill humansImage source: crowned eagle

Crowned eagles are known for their impressive hunting abilities. They have strong legs and large talons, which they use to capture and kill their prey. These birds primarily feed on mammals, with over 90% of their diet consisting of mammals, often preferring primates such as monkeys.

Prey Preferences of Crowned Eagles

  • Monkeys: Crowned eagles are known to target various species of monkeys, including colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, and baboons.
  • Small to Medium-Sized Mammals: Crowned eagles also hunt smaller mammals such as hares, mongooses, and small antelopes.
  • Domestic Pets: In some cases, crowned eagles have been known to attack and kill domestic pets, such as dogs and cats, which can lead to conflicts with humans.
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Threats to Crowned Eagles

Despite their power and hunting abilities, crowned eagles face numerous threats to their survival, including:

  1. Habitat Loss: Deforestation and habitat destruction have led to a decline in the population of crowned eagles, as they rely on dense forests for their hunting and nesting grounds.

  2. Persecution by Humans: Due to fears of attacks on livestock or domestic pets, crowned eagles are often persecuted by humans, leading to a decline in their population.

  3. Competition with Humans: Crowned eagles and humans often compete for the same food sources, which can further threaten the eagles’ survival.

Importance of Crowned Eagles in Ecosystems

Crowned eagles play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems. As top predators, they help to control the populations of their prey, ensuring a healthy and balanced ecosystem. The persecution of these birds can have negative impacts on the overall health of the environment.


While crowned eagles are powerful birds capable of attacking and killing human children, such incidents are rare. These majestic birds face numerous threats to their survival, and their persecution can have detrimental effects on the ecosystems they inhabit. It is important to understand and respect the role of crowned eagles in the natural world, and to work towards their conservation and protection.