Epic Battles: The Largest Eagle Ever vs. A Wolf

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: December 26, 2022
© A-Z-Animals.com
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Howling wolves can send shivers down a person’s spine. They know that these large, deadly predators can chase down and prey upon animals larger than the average human. Still, wolves are prey in some parts of the world. To be fair, the Mongolian wolves that trained golden eagles can take down are smaller than gray wolves. Yet, larger birds than the golden eagle have existed. Today, we’re going to propose a hypothetical battle between the largest eagle ever vs. a wolf.

In particular, we’re going to examine Haast’s eagle vs. a gray wolf. We’ll show you what each creature brings to the battle, who has the advantage in certain areas, and which one is most likely to survive an encounter between the two!

Comparing The Largest Eagle Ever and a Wolf

The most significant differences between the largest eagle ever and a wolf lie in their morphology, weight, and offensive capabilities


Largest Eagle EverWolf
SizeWeight: averaged 20 to 26 pounds, up to 36 pounds
Body length: roughly 3 feet
Wingspan: about 9 feet or more
Weight: between 60 and 150 pounds
Height: between 2 and 3 feet at the shoulder
Length: from 3 to 5 feet, not counting the tail
Speed– No true data available
– The largest extant eagle species can reach 50 mph in a dive
– May run at speeds of 35 mph slightly more  
Defenses– The ability to take to the air and avoid a confrontation on the ground
– The creature’s large size would frighten most smaller creatures
– The bird’s light body would be a liability on the ground, though
– Can run for long distances at high speeds
–  Have great senses of smell and hearing that help them identify danger
– Often live with a pack for extra protection
– Individual wolves are large enough to scare off most other animals in their range
Offensive Capabilities– May have had a grip strength of 1,000 PSI in its talons
– Had talons measuring up to 3 inches long at their greatest
– Had a bill measuring 5.1 inches long used to strike at vital areas
– Possess 2.5-inch canine teeth that they use to bite prey
– Roughly a 400 PSI bite force, but they may exert more force in the wild
– Have sharp claws measuring up to an inch  
Predatory Behavior– Most likely used a skilled ambush attack to dive-bomb prey
– Could have killed prey through exsanguination or crushing their prey’s skull with its feet and talons
– Known for their cursorial predation where they chase prey down and kill it in packs
– Will often deal several bites to a prey before killing it
– Can ambush prey to an extent  

What Are the Key Differences Between the Largest Eagle Ever and a Wolf?

The most significant differences between the largest eagle ever and a wolf lie in their morphology, weight, and offensive capabilities. The largest eagle ever was a massive bird that weighed about 20 to 36 pounds, measured about 3 feet in body length, and had a wingspan of about 9 feet long. Wolves are large quadrupedal mammals that weigh about 150 pounds at maximum, grow about 5 feet long, and stand perhaps 3 feet tall at the shoulder.

Wolves are cursorial predators that chase their prey over long distances, attack them repeatedly, and then kill them. Meanwhile, Haast’s eagles dive-bomb their prey, ambushing them with their powerful talons and long beak.

These creatures are very unique, and the things that make them different will have a significant impact on this fight.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between the Largest Eagle Ever and a Wolf?

The size, attack methods, and offensive powers of each animal will play a major role in the outcome of this fight. Yet, we want to provide a well-rounded account of this fight. That’s why we’re going to look at a total of five different factors. That way, we can create a complete picture of this fight and figure out which animal would win in a hypothetical fight.  

The Largest Eagle Ever vs. Wolf: Size

Wolf quiz
The wolf is bigger than the largest eagle ever.

©Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com

A wolf is larger than the largest eagle ever in most measures. The average wolf can weigh between 60 and 150 pounds on average, much heavier than Haast’s eagle, an animal that may have weighed 36 pounds at maximum.

Meanwhile, a wolf can measure up to 5 feet long while the largest eagle ever only measured about 3 feet in total body length. The only difference is that the wolf stands up to 3 feet tall and the largest eagle ever had a wingspan of up to 9 feet.

The wolf has the advantage in this fight.

The Largest Eagle Ever vs. Wolf: Speed

The largest eagle ever was probably faster than a wolf. The biggest extant eagle, the harpy eagle, can dive at speeds of 50 mph, so it’s not unreasonable to think that Haast’s eagle could reach a similar speed. That’s in the air, of course. On the ground, wolves are much faster.

The average gray wolf can run at speeds between 30 and 35 mph or slightly higher.

The largest eagle ever has a speed advantage.  

The Largest Eagle Ever vs. Wolf: Defenses

Wolves have good physical defenses. They’re fast, strong, and large. That makes them very tough to take down in a fight. Moreover, many wolves live in packs, so an animal would need to be rather tough or foolish to take on a pack of wolves.

Haast’s eagle has one of the best defenses for fighting a terrestrial creature: the ability to take flight! The eagle can fly away from most encounters. Yet, when they’re on the ground, they don’t have much in the way of defenses. Their bodies are light, and their bones are not powerful enough to engage in a prolonged fight against a stronger animal.

The wolf has a defensive advantage in this fight.

The Largest Eagle Ever vs. Wolf: Offensive Capabilities

Haast’s eagle had some serious offensive firepower. This bird apparently could use its feet to exert 1,000 PSI of crushing force on its prey. Furthermore, the bird had 3-inch talons that could dig into its prey’s vital areas. Also, the bird had a bill and beak with a total length of 5.1 inches. That beak could be used to peck and dig into the bodies of their prey.

Wolves rely on their powerful bites to kill prey. They can exert about 400 PSI or possibly upwards of 1,000 PSI of biting force. The gray wolf has canine teeth that can measure up to 2.5 inches long, more than enough to deal significant damage to large animals.

The largest eagle ever has more impressive offensive capabilities, but the wolf’s larger body makes up for its one-dimensional attack method.  

The Largest Eagle Ever vs. Wolf: Predatory Behavior

Haast's eagle attacking New Zealand moa
Haast’s eagle had better predatory instincts.

©John Megahan, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The largest eagle ever was probably an ambush predator that swooped down from the sky and killed its prey. They would have crushed the skulls of their prey or exsanguinated them with vicious tearing and pecking.

Wolves are endurance predators. They chase down their prey, bite it over and over again, weaken it until it can’t fight back, and then finish it off. They often attack as a pack, focusing on large prey that will keep them fed.

The largest eagle has a better predatory attack when alone. The wolf relies too much on its pack mates to get the edge in this area. Yet, that doesn’t mean the wolf is incapable of fighting alone.

Who Would Win in a Fight Between the Largest Eagle Ever and a Wolf?

moutain wolf running fast
The wolf would win the battle against the largest eagle ever.

©Michal Ninger/Shutterstock.com

A wolf would win a fight against the largest eagle ever. Almost the entirety of this battle comes down to one question: can the largest eagle ever kill the wolf before the wolf can counterattack?

In this particular situation, the eagle almost has to kill the mammal in one shot. Otherwise, the wolf is almost certain to get ahold of some part of the large eagle’s body. If the fight starts with a dive from the largest eagle ever, the wolf would be severely injured. Those talons digging into the wolf’s flesh and the power exerted by the bird’s feet could do terrible damage.

Yet, wolves are no pushovers. The wolf is going to feel that first attack and then start running, rolling, and leaping to get the bird off of it. By doing this, the wolf will expose some part of the bird’s body to grab ahold of, and it will relentlessly bite that part.

Either the eagle kills the wolf right away, it is ripped apart by the bird or it flees for its life. Either way, an eagle victory doesn’t seem likely.

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About the Author

I've been a freelance writer since 2013, and I've written in a variety of niches such as managed service providers, animals, and retail distribution. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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