Haast’s Eagle’s Hunting and Eating Habits Examined

For more than a century, scientists have wondered whether New Zealand’s huge carnivorous Haast’s eagle, that went extinct around 600 years ago, was more of a predatory eagle or a gut-raiding vulture. Now we finally have the answer: it was both, according to Christa Lesté-Lasserre writing for New Scientist.

The Haast’s eagle used its massive talons to hunt and capture prey like an eagle. But instead of gobbling it down whole like modern-day raptors, it ripped the animal’s belly apart and tore out its intestines – the “nicest bits”, says Anneke van Heteren at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich, Germany.

A lack of competition meant they could afford to be picky. “When you’re the king of the jungle, basically, you can just eat the nice bits and then move on and catch another one,” van Heteren says.

Original article by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, New Scientist, December 1, 2021.

Illustration by Katrina Kenny.


Tags: Haast's eagle  New Scientist  

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