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Re: What would Hitchcock have thought...?

Does it necessarily follow that an eagle must be able to carry its
prey? Can't it just kill it and begin eating it on the spot?

Exactly what I was going to ask. After all, modern martial eagles kill small antelope, but do not carry them off. They simply eat them on the ground. Golden eagles feed on young pronghorns, and eat them on the ground as well. The bird need not be able to lift the prey item in question.

Also, golden eagles are good test case, but other (larger) species should also be considered. In the NW portion of North America, for example, sea eagles would be a good candidate. I suspect that a sea eagle could grab and carry an infant (and kill and consume a young child on the ground). Similarly, martial eagles in Africa kill large prey items more often than golden eagles, if I remember correctly.

That still doesn't mean that such attacks actually occurred, or were likely if they did, but I would not rule it out based on carrying capacity alone. Also, wingforms may make a difference. Species with large mass, but low wing loading are more likely to get aloft with large prey. There is a paper listing the wing parameters for African Raptors already published, I'll pull out the reference.


--Mike Habib