Bonelli’s Eagle with Common Crane Kill, Little Rann of Kutch

by Vikram Sathyanathan
Vikram Sathyanathan

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Powerful predators, eagles can kill prey even larger than themselves. In this instance, the photographer did well by leaving the raptor alone.

December 2012: We were on a jeep safari in the Little Rann of Kutch one afternoon, when, far away, we saw a large raptor sitting on what appeared to be a small mound. We approached slowly, and, to our surprise, found a Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata) sitting on a large dead bird. It was evident that the kill had taken place just a while earlier; feathers of the victim lay scattered on the ground. We realised that the kill was a Common Crane (Grus grus) — a winter migrant that comes in large numbers to NW India.

For several minutes we watched the scene, and were looking forward to seeing the raptor feed. A few times the eagle flew a few meters away from the kill, but came back to sit on top of it again. After observing this happen for some time, we left the scene, wanting to leave the bird alone. When we returned the next day, there was no trace of the kill, except some feathers of the crane scattered about.

About the author

Vikram Sathyanathan
The author is a wildlife photographer based in Coimbatore.


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