What Does Eagle Eat

Any of the huge birds known as raptors, which are present everywhere on Earth with the exception of Antarctica, are referred to as eagles. Raptors are raptors, which are birds of prey that hunt other vertebrates.

Even while raptors are normally enormous for birds, their prey is usually much larger than they are. About 60 different species of eagle exist, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Despite the fact that they are all predatory carnivores, some have a more specialized diet than other eagles. For instance, the bald eagle prefers to eat fish, however it will also eat birds, small animals, and even snakes. Almost all of the long-crested eagle’s food sources are rodents.

When hunting, they may fly over an area in search of food, but more often than not, they will choose a high vantage point to sit and wait, then swoop down, grab the prey, and continue soaring. They seldom stay on the ground to capture prey before taking flight.

What Do Eagles Eat In The Wild?

All of the world’s eagle species are carnivorous, and there are many distinct varieties of them. Nevertheless, the type of animal and the area in which it lives have a significant impact on what they consume.

For instance, eagles who live in desert areas may eat more reptiles and small rodents whereas eagles that live near water sources may eat more fish. In this regard, eagles aren’t very fussy eaters and may be characterized as opportunistic creatures.

The National Eagle Center points out that eagles do not necessarily need to feed every single day. They typically consume between half a pound and a pound of food per day, but if they have gone without food for a while, they may consume up to two pounds.

Let’s examine some particular food categories in more detail and talk about the sorts of eagles that will consume them.

Observing Harpy Eagles in the wild

For any birder, harpy eagles are among the “holy grail” species. Speaking from firsthand experience, watching Harpy Eagles consume food is interesting. However, despite their enormous size, it might be challenging to locate one in the wild!

But as ecotourism and birding excursions have grown in popularity throughout the Neotropics, particularly in isolated areas, birders now have the chance to observe these incredible birds in their native habitats.

One of the greatest places to see a wild Harpy Eagle is in the immense jungles of Darien, in eastern Panama. Inquire with us about our trip of Darien: Realm of the Harpy Eagle!

how much do eagles eat

The amount of food that eagles typically consume is not known to be accurate. The majority of eagles eat every day, and according to one research, their average daily consumption is about 500 grams.

Despite the fact that none of these raptors can hunt huge game, they will still have more food than they require. Numerous research on these birds reveal that an eagle’s stomach is quite tiny, around the size of a walnut.

But eagles can transport and store almost one-third of their body weight in their crop. It is claimed that the only thing these birds’ prey, or even their source of food, have in common is that they weigh between 1/2 and 4 kg.

But according to the numerous studies that have been done on their diet, some of these birds have been found to have consumed up to an animal weighing roughly 6 kg. As previously said, they only require 500 grams of food on average in order to thrive.

Do Bald Eagles Eat Dead Animals?

The majority of eagle species prefer freshly killed prey, however as was already said, they are opportunistic feeders. In times of food scarcity, they would consume dead animals if they cannot find something better.

Some eagles regularly consume carrion, including the long-crested eagle and the steppe eagle. As long as they are not famished, some people don’t care as much about what they eat or how it was killed, while others are a little pickier.

Some eagles may seize the recently slain prey of other eagles or animals, while others will scavenge roadkill. Others will consume creatures that have passed away due to old age or other causes, which can occasionally be harmful to eagles.

For instance, eagles may occasionally consume found dead rats. If a rat was murdered by chemical poisoning, the eagle may also die from the same toxin after consuming the dead rat.

However, an eagle’s digestive tract is often capable of metabolizing practically everything and removing a variety of poisons from its body. Eagles are able to eat a wide variety of foods because of this.

How to discover what Harpy Eagles eat

It might be difficult to determine what Harpy Eagles consume in a certain habitat. There are three basic methods by which researchers learn what food Harpy Eagles consume.

A predation incident can be seen initially. This can entail seeing a real kill, spotting an eagle feasting on food that is still intact enough to be seen from a distance (or delivering prey to a nest), or gathering prey remnants, including feathers and bones, either from below a nest or from inside it.

Even while it might not appear difficult, the first challenge is locating Harpy Eagle nests.

Thankfully, this endeavor involves plenty of locals, at least in Panama. They have to look for active Harpy Eagle nests in the area as part of their duties.

Do Eagles Eat Fish?

A lot of eagles do consume fish. In fact, fish is a favorite meal of both the African fish eagle and the bald eagle, both of which are found in wetland habitats or close to huge bodies of water.

Due to their keen vision, eagles can detect fish in the water even when they are flying at a great altitude. As they swoop down into the sea, they may follow the fish’s motions and finally snag it with their strong claws.

To show how adept bald eagles are at fishing, watch this video.

The fish is occasionally killed right away after being caught, but more frequently it is still alive when the eagle starts to devour it. Eagles love eating fresh flesh, thus they don’t go to any further trouble to kill their prey before eating it.

What do small eagles eat?

Prior to that, we discussed the overall diet of eagles. But in this portion of the article, we’ll go through what aguilillas, or harriers, or the lesser eagles, consume.

This is due to its size, which ranges from 40 to 55 cm. Since lesser eagles are unable to support as much weight as larger ones, their prey is significantly smaller than that of the larger eagles.

They only seek and eat field mice, voles, tiny snakes, and even amphibians because of this. They opt to consume a lot of invertebrates when their food is low throughout the season and they are unable to pursue their preferred prey.

We can name lobsters as one of them. Here are some instances of tiny eagles that are more prevalent and well-known:

Booted Eagle or eagle. The Booted Eagle, or Hieraetus pennatus as it is known scientifically. Despite having a fairly diversified diet, medium-sized birds like magpies, pigeons, and blackbirds are their preferred prey. Additionally, they may consume reptiles, young rabbits, as well as huge insects like grasshoppers.

Osprey. The osprey, or Pandion haliaetus as it is officially termed. These are the only eagles of this species that will exclusively eat fish, and they are coastal-associated birds. Only this eagle and the Oceanian osprey, P. cristatus, have a diet that is entirely comprised of fish.

Marsh harrier in the west. The scientific name for this species is Circus aeruginosus, often known as the Western Marsh Harrier. It is a bird with a wide geographic range that is intimately tied to wetlands.

Small rodents make up the majority of their food, although they also eat the young of marsh birds and reptiles. These eagles may consume fish, huge invertebrates, and amphibians.

Hornet Harrier The Pallid Harrier is the common name for this eagle, but its scientific name is Circus cyaneus. This kind of bird is a raptor that can hunt in and on dense vegetation since it is a product of the cold and temperate planet.

Their preferred food mostly consists of rodents, poultry, small birds like quail, snakes, and many kinds of insects.

Chancellor’s Harrier Though technically classified as Circus pygargus, this eagle is also known as Montagu’s Harrier. It is a raptor of Eurasian descent that is connected to vast grasslands.

As a result of the population loss, it is currently confined to grain fields where it is able to survive. They are in charge of managing the populations of several vole species, other rodents, lobsters, and granivorous birds.

Harrier of Hudson Although these birds are commonly referred to as Hudson’s Harriers, their scientific name is Circus hudsonius.

This little bird of prey, which is native to America, like to eat voles, frogs, and reptiles. On the other hand, when their preferred meal becomes rare, they will consume anything to stay alive, even invertebrates.

Harpy Eagle Diet in Central America

Panama in particular has a high level of biodiversity. Hundreds of different kinds of mammals, reptiles, birds, and other creatures call its dense forests home, many of which are appropriate prey for a Harpy Eagle.

From 2002 through 2009, members of the Whitehawk Birding team contributed to the Panamanian Harpy Eagle project. We monitored eagles raised in captivity and released into Soberania National Park in central Panama, where we saw them predominately consuming huge arboreal creatures.

Harpy Eagles will catch and devour Hoffmann’s Two-toed and Brown-throated Three-toed sloths, Mantled Howlers, White-faced Capuchin Monkeys, Northern Tamanduas, Rothschild’s Porcupine, White-nosed Coatis, and Green Iguanas while hunting in the rainforest canopy.

They’ll also go for ground-dwelling creatures like newborn peccaries, infant deer, and Central American agoutis.

Being expert hunters, harpy eagles may also catch other birds in addition to mammals and reptiles. Harpy Eagles have been observed by biologists eating toucans and parrots. Unexpectedly, a Harpy Eagle was preying on a Black Vulture when we arrived.

In Belize, where sloths—the Harpy Eagles’ primary food source in Panama and South America—aren’t present, our crew also spent a lot of time following them. We frequently observed Harpy Eagles in Belize consuming Gray Foxes, Mexican Hairy Dwarf Porcupines, and Central American Spider Monkeys.

Do Eagles Eat Squirrels?

As was mentioned in the sections above, eagles like consuming a wide variety of small animals. The same is true with squirrels.

Particularly golden eagles consume a variety of rodents, reptiles, birds, and even bigger creatures like deer and foxes. Because squirrels are little and light, they like to devour them.

The steppe eagle, which may be found throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, is also well known for routinely consuming squirrels.

Eagles consume the entire carcass of squirrels and other animals. They possess robust digestive systems with enzymes powerful enough to break down the bones, which are rich in nutrients that eagles require.

The Serpent Eagles

This predatory species of eagles has snakes as its food source. This particular group of eagles can hunt and consume a huge variety of snakes.

As a result of their predominance in the savannahs and jungles of Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa. The fact that this particular population of eagles will eat other animals than reptiles is a significant point, though.

But we also wonder what the eagles consume in addition to reptiles, such as carrion or other small animals and reptiles. The Monera eagle of the Philippines, the dark-toed short-toed eagle, and the royal eagle are all members of this species group. The Batelur Eagle and the Booted Eagle are also present.

Do Eagles Eat Plants?

Eagles normally don’t consume plants because they are all carnivores. There is no known species of eagle that relies mostly on plants for diet.

However, many eagles may eat plants for a variety of reasons. They could pull out and consume a patch of grass or weeds that is growing within the nest, for instance.

In their nest, they may also bite on pine needles or leaves that have been adhered to the branches—again, to get rid of them. On occasion, they may even pick grass from the ground to eat.

Yet again, eagles do not actually consume plants, and they could not subsist on only eating plants.

Harpy Eagles in South America

Two species of sloth, the Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth and the Linnaeus’s Two-toed Sloth, make up the majority of the Harpy Eagle’s diet in terms of individuals taken and biomass, according to a three-year study of five breeding pairs in Brazil.

Nine new prey species for the Harpy Eagle have been recorded according to a recent Suriname research. The Lowland Paca, the Gray-winged Trumpeter, and the Yellow-footed Tortoise are a few fascinating examples.

Do Eagles Eat Mice?

Yes, several eagle species, including the golden eagle and the long-crested eagle, prey on both mice and rats. It’s simple to catch, transport, and feed eaglets delectable treats like mice and rats.

Again, eagles that don’t reside in wetlands or close to water sources typically prefer mice. They are also typically chosen by lesser eagles due to their tiny size, however this isn’t always the case.


Depending on the species and locale, eagles consume a wide variety of foods, ranging from small mice to deer and foxes. The fact that all eagles are carnivores and are hence regarded as opportunistic eaters is one thing they all have in common.