Do Crowned Eagles Eat Hawks?


Do Crowned Eagles Eat Hawks?

Crowned eagles are large birds of prey found in sub-Saharan Africa, and they are known for their unique hunting techniques and diet, which primarily consists of mammals. While it is rare, crowned eagles have been observed hunting birds, including small hawks, when the opportunity arises.

Crowned Eagles’ Diet and Hunting Behavior

Crowned eagles are not known to typically eat hawks. Their diet primarily consists of small ungulates, rock hyrax, and small primates like monkeys. They have a unique hunting strategy that involves still-hunting from a branch perch, dropping or stooping onto their prey.

Hunting Techniques

Crowned eagles are highly vocal and have a noisy, undulating display flight, which they use to communicate with potential mates and mark their territory. The male performs an elaborate rise-and-fall display, while the female may also perform independent display flights.

Prey Preferences

While crowned eagles are powerful hunters, they do not typically target hawks as their primary prey. Their diet is mainly focused on mammals, such as:

  • Small ungulates (hoofed mammals)
  • Rock hyrax
  • Small primates like monkeys

Rare Occurrences of Hunting Birds

However, on rare occasions, crowned eagles have been observed hunting birds, including small hawks, when the opportunity arises. This behavior is not common, and it is likely that crowned eagles only resort to hunting birds when their preferred mammalian prey is scarce or unavailable.

Crowned Eagles’ Breeding and Nesting Behavior

do crowned eagles eat hawksImage source: crowned eagle

Crowned eagles are monogamous and mate for life, breeding once every two years. They build massive nests in forks of large forest trees, usually 12-45 m (39-148 ft) above the ground.

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Nesting and Egg Laying

The female crowned eagle lays one or two eggs, which are incubated for around 49 days. The young hatch covered in down and are capable of feeding themselves after 40 days, though they remain in the care of their parents for another 11 months.

Parental Care and Offspring Development

The young crowned eagles are dependent on their parents for an extended period, as they learn the necessary hunting and survival skills from their parents. This extended parental care is crucial for the development and success of the offspring.

Conservation Status and Threats

The crowned eagle population is decreasing due to various threats, including habitat destruction, persecution, and the potential for taking small livestock.

Population Size and IUCN Status

According to the IUCN Red List, the total population size of crowned eagles is around 5,000-50,000 mature individuals, and the species is currently classified as Near Threatened (NT).

Threats and Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts are necessary to protect the crowned eagle population and ensure their long-term survival. Habitat preservation, reducing persecution, and mitigating the impact of livestock predation are some of the key areas that need to be addressed to support the conservation of this species.


In summary, while crowned eagles do not typically eat hawks, they are powerful hunters with a unique hunting strategy and a diet that primarily consists of mammals. The crowned eagle population is decreasing due to various threats, and conservation efforts are necessary to protect this species.

References: – Crowned Eagle
Wikipedia – Crowned Eagle
Reddit – TIL of the Crowned Eagle, the only known bird to regularly hunt monkeys