Watch A Red-Tailed Hawk Confront a Much Larger Bald Eagle While Flying in Slow Motion

Written by Katie Melynn
Published: October 2, 2022
© Richard G Smith/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

Air-to-air combat isn’t just limited to Top Guns and fighter jets. This Bald Eagle was faced by a bold Red-Tailed Hawk while on a leisurely flight. Fortunately for us, the entire encounter was captured and replayed in slow motion to see just how amazing and powerful these birds are.

The video begins with the Bald Eagle soaring majestically through the sky. These birds of prey can get up to 3 feet tall and have a wingspan of 90 inches. It’s no wonder that they are considered such noble birds. While they do have some predators, such as bobcats and bears, Bald Eagles tend to be predators more than prey. That doesn’t stop other birds from chasing them off, however.

The Red-Tailed Hawk approaches the eagle in the air. The hawk is likely not going after the eagle for a meal, considering it is much larger and Red-Tailed Hawks eat smaller rodents, such as squirrels and rabbits. They do eat some smaller birds but nothing like a Bald Eagle.

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Instead, the Red-Tailed Hawk is probably trying to establish its domain and chase away the Bald Eagle. Birds of prey, including eagles and hawks, can be territorial over their prey as well as their nests. This video doesn’t show nests nearby but birds can range far from their nests in search of food. This may be a case of a mama hawk chasing away the threat of a giant Bald Eagle.

Mid-Flight Maneuvers

The Bald Eagle responds by rolling in the air, talons exposed. This maneuver is not unlike those that fighter pilots make when dogfighting. It is easy enough to imagine the Bald Eagle telling the story to his friends later in his own version of Top Gun.

The Red-Tailed Hawk hovers in the air as the eagle rolls away. Both flap their wings to stay aloft but do not engage with each other further. Generally, larger birds are less maneuverable but this eagle shows that even a bird as giant as a Bald Eagle still has moves.

Bald Eagles are able to see a full 340 degrees. The bird keeps a watchful eye on the hawk even as it continues on its flight away from the area. The hawk is happy to let the eagle go on his way. Both the Bald Eagle and the Red-Tailed Hawk live in North America, where this video was taken.

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red-tailed hawk
Buzzards and hawks mostly prey on live animals such as rodents and other small mammals.
© Richard G Smith/

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie is a Teaching Artist with The APEX Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and was awarded an Author Fellowship to Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She also enjoys spending time with her three kids and cat.

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