- Wedge-tailed eagles are the largest bird of prey in Australia.
- They tend to join with other eagles to target larger prey.
- The kangaroo in this video may have been a bit too large.
This trio of wedge-tailed eagles have decided to target a lone kangaroo and are not about to give up in a hurry. They swoop down several times and try to grab hold of its head – even though the brave kangaroo fights back. The kangaroo eventually escaped but it was a startling encounter. Scroll down to watch the full video of this brazen attack.
How to Spot a Wedge-Tailed Eagle
They are big! These guys are listed in the top 10 largest eagles in the world and can have a wingspan of seven and a half feet. They are the largest bird of prey in Australia but also live in southern New Guinea. These birds get their name from their long, wedge-shaped tail and have feathers down to the base of their toes.
The color of their feathers changes as they get older. As young birds, they are mid-brown with reddish-brown heads and wings. Over the next ten years, they become darker and adults are usually a dark blackish-brown. As for the rest of their body – their bill is pale pink or cream, their eyes are brown and their feet are off-white.
What Do Wedge-Tailed Eagles Eat?
So, were these birds planning on feasting on this kangaroo? It is possible as we know that they will target small kangaroos and can carry off prey that is half their body weight. Also, they tend to join with other eagles to target larger prey and that is what is happening here. However, this kangaroo may have been a bit too large. The other explanation would be that they were warning it away from a nest.
Usually, these birds eat carrion – the carcasses of animals that are already dead. Having said that, they can also catch live prey. They tend to target smaller mammals such as rabbits and hares. Lizards and small birds are also on the menu as are lambs from local farms and this makes them unpopular with farmers!
Is it Normal For Eagles to Attack Kangaroos?
The short answer here is yes! Bald eagles are considered birds of prey which means that it’s common for them to eat small mammals such as rabbits.
However, there have been recorded sightings of eagles attacking larger mammals like koalas and even kangaroos. The Dynatoaetus gaffae eagle has huge talons that can snatch up larger prey. This massive bird of prey is the largest continental eagle in the world today.
While kangaroos don’t actively fear eagles, their more natural predators include:
- Tasmanian Tigers.
Watch the Fascinating Footage Below
How Big Do Wedge-Tailed Eagles Get?
The wedge-tailed eagle is native to Australia, including the island of Tasmania, and southern New Guinea, and like many species, the females are larger than the males. This raptor has a maximum reported wingspan of 9 ft 4 in and a length of up to 3 ft 6 in. The largest wingspan ever verified was for a wedge-tailed eagle killed in Tasmania in 1931. This female had a wingspan of 9 ft 4 in.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.