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Scottish Eagles vs Scottish Wildcat? (1 Viewer)

Himalaya

Well-known member
Considering Golden Eagles and White-tailed Sea Eagles are able to hunt Fox i wonder if there is any record of them or even other BOP such as Eagle owl or other large Owls or Eagles predating Wild Cat or even Lynx?

I would love to hear about cases in Scotland where Wildcats are rare. Would they be able to hunt Badgers or Otters too?
One hears about Golden Eagle hunting Fox but nothing about any interaction with Wildcat or Lynx.
 

BrownnishSkua

Well-known member
Hey himalaya, yes there is an account on another forum regarding a scottish wildcat and a golden eagle involved in a standoff before the golden eagle managed to pick up the wild cat. Both cat and eagle were killed.
And there is a video of a brief interaction between eagle and bobcat, the GE managed to chase it off but that was it.
I will try to post the accounts here later. I also swa a video of a bald eagle harrassing both mother and daughter otter but the eagle is said to have lost its manuverability when it landed and was forced off.
While the bald eagle is said to be too small to take on an otter - its talons can do severe damage.
All those animals are certainly in the killing range of an eagle its just that foxes which lacks the claws are an easier target for eagles.
Eagleman has said that falconers do use golden eagles to hunt badger but thats only after being trained.
 

Capercaillie71

Well-known member
Would they be able to hunt Badgers or Otters too?

According to this site, Golden Eagles are "the only Irish predator known to kill badger cubs" and that for the pair breeding in County Donegal, the main food item was "Irish Hare ... followed by badger cubs (3 confirmed in 2009), fox cubs and grouse"
 

Himalaya

Well-known member
Killing badger cubs and fox cubs is not a major achievement for a bird such as the GE. I have heard even Goshawks kill foxcubs - although what size i have no idea.

If we talk about catching prey unawares then thats probably a different matter. i have read of Eagles killing Fox aware, in the wild and natural habitat.

At the same time if the Eagle was unaware or even aware and a wildcat leapt on it ..it could kill an eagle right? Have there been cases of Fox, Wildcats ever killing Eagles?

And what about Fox versus Wildcat, or wildcat versus badger? I have read and heard Foxes dont stand up to badgers.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
I can confirm Foxes don't stand up to Badgers, but there are some fairly noisy stand-offs at the setts I watch.

Fairly evenly matched predators rarely risk injuries that might impede hunting for the sake of not stepping aside in the face of another species. Given the need for territory, another individual of the same species can be another matter.

John
 

BrownnishSkua

Well-known member
Eagle owls are said to be capable of killing foxes twice their weight and deer by ambush and yet vulnerable on the ground to other predators including other foxes when feeding on the ground.
 
Wildcats vs eagles

Hi Everyone,

I kept getting Google alerts about this thread and thought I'd add a little info.

Around Strathspey in the Highlands there's a widely known story of a gamekeeper out walking his land one day who spotted a golden eagle circling and diving at something below.

He worked his way in closer to see what it was hunting and was surprised to see a female Scottish wildcat standing over a group of very young kittens.

Th eagle kept coming in to try and drive off the adult so it could get at the kits but the wildcat stood its ground hissing furiously and lunging at the eagle whenever it came close.

Eventually, the eagle got just a little too close, the cat leapt and got a hold of it, biting at the throat and kicking at the body with it's rear legs in classic feline style.

The eagle managed to haul itself skyward with wildcat still attached going at it, eventually the wildcat overcame the bird and both fell a substantial distance to the floor.

The keeper rushed to where he saw them both go down and found the eagle just torn to pieces and the wildcat writhing on the floor, alive and aware but its back broken by the fall, of course he killed it straight away, still hissing furiously at him.

The story has passed into local legend somewhat (perhaps helped by the area being Clan Chattan territory, a clan who mostly have wildcats in their leader's crest) but I've heard it from numerous people and the details are always the same so I'd certainly give it some credence, feline mothers are well known to do anything to protect their young.

So with relevance to the thread, I expect eagles may prey opportunistically on wildcat kittens, but like everything else in the Highlands they probably give adults a very wide berth, they're a lot more dangerous than foxes which would always back down to a wildcat, I believe foxes typically back down to pet cats as well, it's just not worth the trouble, cats can so easily give you a cut or bite that will get infected.

I've heard apocryphally (sp?!) that eagles do prey on the smaller wildcat species such as African wildcat, but never any research or detailed stories to back that up.

Cheers!

Steve Piper
www.scottishwildcats.co.uk


PS
I doubt eagle would prey on lynx, European lynx aren't as aggressive as a wildcat but they are pretty big and as I understand it very rarely leave forest cover, an eagle could only manage quite a young kitten and would probably never get the opportunity as they'd be tucked well away in very dense forest cover.
 
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delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Hi Steve

Thank you very much for your input into this thread and welcome to Birdforum from the Staff and Moderators.

If true, that gamekeepers experience, would have been something he'd remember all his life. Amazing.

D
 

Geoff Northcote

New member
A healthy adult Golden Eagle would have little trouble despatching a healthy adult domestic or feral Cat. A Scottish wildcat is a formidable beast that unlike a domestic or feral cat is quite capable of killing a Fox however a GE's modus operandi when attacking is to make contact with its prey using its talons. Once gripped there would be nothing that a wildcat could do because the GE's head / neck would be out of the reach of the WC. The bottom line is that even a fully grown adult wildcat is simply too small to engage and defeat a GE. A lynx would be an overwhelming fav to defeat a GE and an adult Bobcat would have a better than even chance of victory over a GE also.
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
A healthy adult Golden Eagle would have little trouble despatching a healthy adult domestic or feral Cat. A Scottish wildcat is a formidable beast that unlike a domestic or feral cat is quite capable of killing a Fox however a GE's modus operandi when attacking is to make contact with its prey using its talons. Once gripped there would be nothing that a wildcat could do because the GE's head / neck would be out of the reach of the WC. The bottom line is that even a fully grown adult wildcat is simply too small to engage and defeat a GE. A lynx would be an overwhelming fav to defeat a GE and an adult Bobcat would have a better than even chance of victory over a GE also.
In any encounters between Eagles (Golden, Wedge-tailed, etc) and cats (domestic, feral, wild), there are a lot of factors at play and I don't think there's too many hard and fast rules. These are survival situations.

It comes down to relative size, condition, experience, situation, opportunity, risk, desperation, etc. As in the feral cat threads on BF, some of them in the wild here are well over a metre. Eagles are formidable predators, but feral/wildcats are not without risk.

A study of WTE diet from nest remains found that ~10% were feral cats, and a similar percentage of foxes. The majority was rabbits and kangaroos. Considering that all the feral animals in Australia are only 'relatively recent' arrivals of a couple of hundred years or so, the WTE has been adapting to take them all - from rabbits, to pigs, goats, and deer, etc, as well as the native dingo.

Even though these eagles are at times seemingly crazy (bird brained even ! :), I would think that dangerous prey the size of adult Lynx is starting to push things a bit too far. I have seen footage of GE targeting grizzly bear cubs though, so kittens are probably still on the menu.


PS. thanks to Steve Piper from the Scottish Wildcat Association for the input too.







Chosun :gh:
 
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Himalaya

Well-known member
This would be dependent on surprise factor and how quickly the wildcat could respond?

If a wildcat was unaware then of course it would be most likely killed when the talons made impact.

A healthy adult Golden Eagle would have little trouble despatching a healthy adult domestic or feral Cat. A Scottish wildcat is a formidable beast that unlike a domestic or feral cat is quite capable of killing a Fox however a GE's modus operandi when attacking is to make contact with its prey using its talons. Once gripped there would be nothing that a wildcat could do because the GE's head / neck would be out of the reach of the WC. The bottom line is that even a fully grown adult wildcat is simply too small to engage and defeat a GE. A lynx would be an overwhelming fav to defeat a GE and an adult Bobcat would have a better than even chance of victory over a GE also.
 

Ben Nevis

Well-known member
Hi Everyone,

I kept getting Google alerts about this thread and thought I'd add a little info.

Around Strathspey in the Highlands there's a widely known story of a gamekeeper out walking his land one day who spotted a golden eagle circling and diving at something below.

He worked his way in closer to see what it was hunting and was surprised to see a female Scottish wildcat standing over a group of very young kittens.

Th eagle kept coming in to try and drive off the adult so it could get at the kits but the wildcat stood its ground hissing furiously and lunging at the eagle whenever it came close.

Eventually, the eagle got just a little too close, the cat leapt and got a hold of it, biting at the throat and kicking at the body with it's rear legs in classic feline style.

The eagle managed to haul itself skyward with wildcat still attached going at it, eventually the wildcat overcame the bird and both fell a substantial distance to the floor.

The keeper rushed to where he saw them both go down and found the eagle just torn to pieces and the wildcat writhing on the floor, alive and aware but its back broken by the fall, of course he killed it straight away, still hissing furiously at him.

What happened to the Kittens,Steve ?
I remember many years ago,a Crofter In Strathspey had a young Wildcat that lived around the Croft,that held a Caravan my family used to holiday at.
 

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