Interspecies Conflict/birds


i have been thinking about birds lately. also i would like to know
what would happen when two very different animals fight.
golden eagle vs bald eagle ( at average size and at parity)
great horned owl vs osprey
harpy eagle vs andean conor
harpy eagle vs california condor
bald eagle vs secretary bird
vulture vs secretary bird
secretary bird vs king cobra
red fox vs golden jackal
red fox vs common raccoon
moray eel vs black piranha
serval vs bobcat
1,980 lbs blue marlin vs 2,000 lbs nile crocodile
1,500 lbs kodiak bear vs 2,000 lbs nile crocodile
great hammerhead shark vs american alligator

Hello Johnny.

golden eagle vs bald eagle (at average size): These birds average about the same size, with the bald eagle being slightly heavier.  Golden eagles are bold & aggressive, but bald eagles won't hesitate to fight other birds or steal food from them.  Close battle, could go either way, but I slightly favor the bald eagle if it's heavier.

golden eagle vs bald eagle (at parity): These birds are similar in capabilities.  Close fight, but the edge in aggression would slightly favor the golden eagle.  

great horned owl vs osprey: The great horned owl will be slightly heavier than the osprey (about 20% more).  Both have similar weaponry, but the owl typically tackles larger prey than the fish-eating osprey.  Close battle, edge to the heavier great-horned owl.

harpy eagle vs andean condor: The Andean condor is over 60% as heavy as the harpy eagle, but it's nowhere near as formidable.  The condor's claws aren't nearly as strong, and its talons aren't nearly as sharp (as it is primarily a scavenger).  The harpy eagle routinely takes large prey, and would have the maneuverability advantage in the air.  Harpy eagle easily wins.

harpy eagle vs california condor: Same as above, but the California condor is about 55% heavier than the harpy eagle.  Although lighter, the harpy eagle easily wins.

bald eagle vs secretary bird: The bald eagle is about 40% heavier than the secretary bird, and is stronger & more robustly built.  The secretary bird uses its slender legs for striking/running after prey (usually small mammals, reptiles, or insects) and would be outmatched by dangerous talons of the more powerful bald eagle (which preys on small birds, carrion, and fish).  The secretary bird can strike at animals on the ground with its feet with a great deal of force, but they would not be as effective against an attacking eagle.  It could kick out in an attempt to repel the eagle, but the eagle would latch on with its talons and control the fight from there.  The larger bald eagle wins.  

vulture vs secretary bird: This depends on the vulture. The bearded vulture (lammergeyer), for example, has a stockier build, stronger talons, and weighs about 50% heavier.  Some African vultures are also larger than the secretary bird.  Turkey vultures & Egyptian vultures are about half the secretary bird's weight, and probably wouldn't fare well against it.  The bearded vulture would likely be heavy enough to defeat the secretary bird, but the less formidable vultures (even if heavier) would likely be driven away by the kicks of their taller, more slender adversary.  Vultures aren't very formidable fighters, and the secretary bird would be favored against most of them at parity (and some of them if outweighed).

secretary bird vs king cobra: This is an interesting matchup.  Secretary birds are adept at killing snakes (including cobras), but they don't encounter any as large as the king cobra.  King cobras can exceed twice the bird's weight, and are capable of injecting a larger volume of venom than any other snake except the gaboon viper (and secretary birds are not immune to venom).  The secretary bird typically attacks a snake by stomping on its head with significant force to disable it, and uses its wings as shields to block strikes.  However, the king cobra will be harder to dispatch than the smaller snakes the secretary bird is used to.  A secretary bird's defenses will not be able to keep a large king cobra from biting it on occasion because the bird's offense (foot strikes) will take longer to take effect.  A king cobra isn't a fast striker compared to, let's say, a rattlesnake, but it will be powerful enough to find its mark if it has enough of a weight advantage.  At parity I would certainly favor the secretary bird, but once the king cobra gets close to twice the bird's weight it will have the edge.

red fox vs golden jackal: The golden jackal is almost 40% heavier and is more robustly built than the fox.  The jackal's jaws are a little more impressive as well.  Golden jackal wins.

red fox vs common raccoon: This would be a close fight.  The fox will typically be 1/3rd heavier.  The red fox will have the advantage of a bigger bite, more predatory instincts, and greater lateral quickness.  The raccoon will have the advantage of sharp claws, a more stout body, and greater mobility at close quarters.  In a normal confrontation it's likely the raccoon will have the aggressiveness to drive the fox away, but a determined fox has the ability to dart in and out with quick bites to wear down the raccoon (although this would take a while).  The raccoon could scratch up the fox with an accumulation of claw swipes, and it has a decent bite of its own.  At parity I would favor the raccoon, but a fox with a 33% weight advantage would make this fight close to a 50/50; slight edge to the fox.

moray eel vs black piranha: The moray eel will be many times heavier than the piranha, and its bite can cause much more damage to the piranha than the piranha's bite can cause to it.  Moray eels are agile in the water (they can swim backwards!), and will be able to seize the piranha in its jaws even if the piranha gets the first bite in.  The black piranha is notoriously aggressive, but it is outmatched here.  Moray eel wins.

serval vs bobcat: The serval may be 15-20% heavier, but it's not nearly the fighter the bobcat is.  Servals are slender, agile, and are excellent hunters, but the prey items they tackle are usually birds and rodents.  Bobcats are more robustly built, have larger heads, and tackle animals much larger than the serval is capable of dealing with.  Bobcat wins.

1,980lb blue marlin vs 2,000lb nile crocodile: The crocodile's methods of killing (bite, hold & drown/bite & spin) would not have the same effect here as it would against a wildebeest.  It will be hard for the crocodile to latch onto an area of the blue marlin where the same level of damage could occur.  It can certainly kill the marlin; it will just be more difficult.  The other problem the crocodile will encounter is the greater mobility of the blue marlin.  It will be easier for the marlin to impale the crocodile with its pointed bill than for the crocodile to latch on with its jaws.  Edge to the blue marlin.  

1,500lb kodiak bear vs 2,000lb nile crocodile: Crocodiles lack mobility & endurance on land, and this can make them vulnerable against a mobile, similar-sized opponent.  A crocodile is capable of making quick lunges and can latch onto an attacking bear, but a bear is solidly built and strong enough to escape.  Grabbing onto a thick limb of a bear is different than grabbing onto a more slender leg of a bovid, and the bear has the ability to use its claws & teeth to mount an effective counter-attack.  The paw swipes of a Kodiak bear can stun a crocodile with a strike to the head.  Bears are very strong, well-armed, and have amazing endurance.  The crocodile won't be able to cause enough damage to the bear in their skirmish before it runs out of steam and becomes a sitting duck.  In shallow water, however, the battle will be much closer.  The crocodile will have more mobility, and the greater ease of motion will allow it to last much longer in a confrontation.  If it latches onto the bear in shallow water at these sizes, it will have a chance to spin its body "the death roll" with lots of power.  The bear will have trouble controlling the crocodile with its paws & claws, and the torque of the spinning crocodile can cause serious damage to its limbs if the jaws latch on.  In water deep enough to allow the crocodile to move & spin freely (probably 3 ft), a crocodile of this size will have the edge (unless it's an old, past-its-prime version) over the bear.  If the water depth is less than this, the bear will still have a chance to control the crocodile a little bit and mount a decent offense, but it will be a close fight.  The Kodiak bear will be about 5ft tall at the shoulder, but once the water gets deeper than 3 or 4ft, it will be in trouble.  Bear has edge on land, croc has edge in shallow water, and croc dominates in deep water.

great hammerhead shark vs american alligator: These 2 animals will be similar in weight, but the alligator will be smaller & shorter (its armor gives it greater overall density).  In water that allows both animals to move about freely, the Great Hammerhead shark will have the advantage over the American alligator.  The shark has greater mobility in the water, and its bite (designed to remove chunks of flesh) can cause serious injury to any unprotected areas of the reptile.  If the alligator manages to bite the "hammer" area of the shark and spin, it can cause serious injury to the fish, but the chances are more likely the shark will be able to make a meaningful strike first.  The method of bite & retreat (shark) will have greater effect than the grab & drown (gator) in this particular matchup.  In shallow water (where the shark's movement might be impeded), the alligator would have the edge in this contest, but in deeper water, the shark will be favored.

Best regards.

Interspecies Conflict

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Questions regarding animal conflicts within realistic or unrealistic settings are welcome; my strength lies in medium-to-large species. Small animals (including birds of prey), prehistoric animals, sea creatures, and domestic dog breeds are usually within my scope, but to a lesser degree. I can't confidently answer hypothetical questions about human vs animal, arachnids, insects, or amphibians, but I am willing to field them nonetheless.


From a young age, I have been interested in animals. Starting with the original Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and World Book Encyclopedias, I have seen many animal shows and documentaries and have read multiple books on the subject. I have a solid understanding of the physiology of many animals and interspecies conflict in general.

Associate degree in unrelated field; biology classes in college.

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