FunNature & AnimalThe world's largest eagle hunted like an eagle and...

The world's largest eagle hunted like an eagle and ate like a vulture

Let’s imagine this flying monster: 15 kilos in weight, 3 meters long and claws up to 9 centimeters. Haast’s eagle ( Hieraaetus moorei) , the largest known eagle, routinely killed prey larger than itself, and ate similarly to vultures by feeding on large carcasses , according to new research published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society. B.

The work shows that these eagles, already extinct, hunted like eagles and fed like vultures. The huge bird sliced off the carcass of its prey and inserted its head deep into the prey, before devouring its internal organs, according to experts at the Canterbury Museum.

This species was larger and heavier (30-40% more) than the largest living eagle, the harpy eagle ( Harpia harpyja ).

“Most eagles hunt prey that is smaller than themselves, but the Haast’s eagle chased moa that could weigh up to 200 kg, more than 13 times its own body weight,” says Paul Scofield, senior curator of natural history at the Canterbury Museum. “Vultures also tend to eat animals that are much larger than they are , so it makes sense that they have similar feeding habits.” “As a result of this research, when we imagine a Haast’s eagle feeding, we can imagine it swooping down on a moa , grabbing it with those massive talons and using its mighty beak to deliver the killing blow. Once the moa was lowered, the eagle would go directly to the back of the skull and to the guts and other soft organs. “


Haast’s Eagle was formally described by Julius von Haast in 1872 , and since then, scientists have debated whether it was a predator that killed other animals for food or a scavenger that ate animals that had already died.


Referencia: A.H. van Heteren et al. 2021. New Zealand’s extinct giant raptor (Hieraaetus moorei) killed like an eagle, ate like a condor. Proc. R. Soc. B 288 (1964): 20211913; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2021.1913

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