Next Level Leopard Somehow Catches an Eagle

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: November 13, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Rixipix
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Key Points:

  • As you will see, leopards can strike with great quickness.
  • In the wild, even apex predators have to be on their toes, or talons, and on the ready for an ambush!
  • Leopards are true opportunistic hunters that take advantage of the situation in order to make a kill.
leopard
A leopard on the prowl!

Ondrej Chvatal/Shutterstock.com

Perhaps the martial eagle in this footage thought that their size and power would protect them from any predators but sadly, they were wrong! We see a superb hunter, namely a leopard, sneak up from behind and capture the unsuspecting eagle in their powerful jaws. This very unusual event was captured in sub-Saharan Africa where there are many large bird species, including the ostrich.

Incredible Martial Eagles

The awesome martial eagle is the largest eagle species in the world with a wingspan of up to 8.5 feet with a distinctive speckled chest. They can be seen in the savannah and thornbush areas of Africa in areas to the south of the Sahara ranging from Senegal to Somalia and also further south to the Cape. They frequent the Kruger National Park in the Lower Sabie area.

Largest Eagles in the World: Martial Eagle
The local name of Martial eagles in South Africa is lammervanger (or “lamb catcher”).

Theodore Mattas/Shutterstock.com

Martial eagles weigh up to 14 pounds and can knock a fully grown human off their feet! Because of their huge size, they need to eat a lot and often so hunting is a big part of their lives. They commonly catch guineafowl, as well as bustards and other poultry and lizards. However, they are also partial to mammals and some of these are large! A Martial eagle will tackle a hyrax or even a small antelope. There are reports of these eagles dining on calves, goats and lambs too.

They like to spend most of their time either perched in trees or soaring in the air surveying the land below for their next meal. It is highly unusual for them to be on the ground for long periods of time because it makes them vulnerable to predators as this individual found out.

Sneaky Leopard

Leopards are stunning big cats found across sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. They are opportunistic hunters and are adept at exploiting situations that they find themselves in. The leopard in this vid cannot believe their luck.

leopard
This is a wild African leopard looking down from a branch of a tree.

iStock.com/lightstock

Leopards hunt birds, reptiles, and mammals and their very varied diet allow them to evade the intense competition for single food sources.

In this footage, the eagle has clearly failed to spot the leopard who is perfectly camouflaged behind a small tree. As the eagle is distracted by another smaller bird breaking cover and flying away, the leopard charges through the bush and pounces on their prey in one movement. Usually, a leopard will drag their prey to a safe space, such as dense vegetation, to eat it in peace. But oddly, this leopard leaves the carcass on the ground and walks away. However, in nature, nothing is wasted so it was probably not too long before scavengers arrived to feast on it.  

Is This Normal Behavior?

While large avians may not be the everyday dinner for big cats like leopards, it does happen in the wild. Despite the quick reflexes of the eagle, a well-timed ambush is the key to victory for the feline.

Leopards will normally hunt and stalk weaker, slower prey. But if food is scarce and the right opportunity presents itself, they will not hesitate to strike!

Up Next:

These athletic big cats never cease to amaze with their hunting and agility. Aways a good show!

Amur leopard in sunlight

iStock.com/Rixipix
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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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