Although golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) have for decades been known to occasionally take large or dangerous quarry, the capturing of such was generally believed to be rare and/or the act of starved birds. This report provides details of an exceptional diet at a golden eagle eyrie in eastern Mongolia with unquantified notes on the occurrence of foxes at other eyries in Mongolia. Most of the prey we recorded were unusual, including 1 raven (Corvus corax), 3 demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides virgo), 1 upland buzzard (Buteo hemilasius), 3 owls, 27 foxes, and 11 Mongolian gazelles. Some numerical comparisons are of interest. Our value for gazelle calves (10 minimum count, 1997) represents 13% of 78 prey items and at least one adult was also present. Our total of only 15 hares (Lepus tolai) and 4 marmots (Marmota sibirica) compared to 27 foxes suggests not so much a preference for foxes, but rather that populations of more normal prey were probably depressed at this site. Unusual prey represented 65% of the diet at this eyrie.
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Predators as prey at a Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos eyrie in Mongolia