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Why Do Eagles Lock Talons? Out of Love or Falling Out of It?

You are enjoying a fresh sunny morning outdoors and suddenly notice a strange view of the sky? What’s that? Are those eagles fighting with each other? Or are they in some kind of ritual? 

When you look closely, you would understand that’s two eagles with locked talons with each other. It’s quite an interesting view of the sky. But why do Eagles lock talons? 

If that’s a mystery to you up to this day, let us explore it today. Our article is about two eagles with locked talons and why they engage in such an act. Let’s begin. 

Why Do Eagles Lock Talons


  • Some bird specialists think, locking talons is often part of the eagles’ courtship and mating ritual. 
  • Sometimes a pair of Eagles would lock their talons to reaffirm their commitment to each other. That’s cute! 
  • Learning how to lock talons can serve as a form of aerial training for young eagles.
  • It can also establish dominance and hierarchy within the group and communities. 
  • If you notice eagles lock talons in mid-air, it is indeed a fantastic natural spectacle.
  • The birds (Eagles) can also lock talons during aerial disputes over territory or hunting grounds.n

So, here we learned eagles can lock talons for a couple of reasons. But which one is the correct one? We will soon expose it today! Let’s begin. 

Why Do Eagles Lock Talons?

We all know how magnificent the beast eagles are. They have a high range of visibility using which, they hunt and feed on prey. 

They are the apex predators and have been of keen interest for their sharp aerial agility.

The birds show a variety of behaviors. And, we may not be able to describe all of them. One such strange yet interesting behavior is when two Eagles lock their talons in the sky. That’s quite a remarkable reality show!

But why do they do it? 

Scientists and other bird specialists have been digging into this act for years now. They have come up with different theories that would leave you speechless!

We are referring to the most logical ones here. Let’s talk. 

1) Courtship Rituals

Courtship Rituals

Almost 50% of bird specialists believe eagles lock their talons to form a courtship. 

Some avian creatures such as Seagulls mate for life, under specific conditions. Eagles are also one of them. They form a lifelong partnership and perform special courtship before mating. 

It is the theory of the specialists that, paired eagles often lock talons to perform a beautiful dance of rituals.  

Experts believe such an act during the breeding season solidifies the bond between the pair. It’s a clear expression of love and affection before they start a family. 

2) A Test of Strength 

A Test of Strength

Other experts believe the locked talon is usually a tug of war. Two eagles engage in mid-air and get into a tug of war. They continue until one of them runs out of strength and surrenders. 

Sometimes, it’s not about strength. It’s also a way to find a potential partner for mating and ensure that it is capable of providing for the family. Eagles look for a competent partner who is healthy and strong and likely to grow strong chicks. 

3) Secure the Territory 

Secure the Territory 

Most birds are territorial by nature. They will defend and protect their nest and mating area, places where feed, or even the roosting areas. Eagles are also no exception to this. 

Additionally, sum up their strength and imagine what may happen if others invade their personal space. Eagles are very territorial. They would raise a bloody fight (if they have to) yet protect their personal space from outsiders.  

Thus! Be confirmed that, when two eagles engage in locked talons, it’s not just a show of power but a clear message to other eagles: “The territory is claimed.” 

Here are a few major reasons why do eagles lock talons. But to our wonder, there might still be a lot of things out of explanation. Sometimes, the Eagles can lock the talons out of trust or before they prepare for nesting. 

They might still engage in locked talons for reasons that might be still not known to us! However, the next time you observe such a scenario in the sky, if you fail to get any explanation, just observe and enjoy the view! 

Do Other Birds Also Lock Talons? 

Yes! It’s not only dominant in the Eagles. Some other birds also lock talons with each other for different reasons. Here’s a list of them, 

1) Ospreys: They are popular for their remarkable fishing skills. They often engage in aerial acrobatics such as the locked talon during courtship or territorial disputes. 

2) Golden Eagle: Another species of Eagle found in North America, Europe, including Asia. They are medium in size and also engage in locked talons like other eagles. 

3) Harriers: They are one kind of diurnal bird and are popular for low, slow-flight strength. Seeing them for the first time, you may think they are a combination of eagles and owls.

Like the eagles, a male harrier also locks the talons with another female to complete the ritual. 

4) Northern Goshawk: The goshawks are medium-sized birds of prey. They also lock talons with each other to offer affection or to dispute territorial business.  

5) Falcons: Some falcon species such as the Peregrine Falcon are popular for their aerial displays. However, they focus on speed and agility more rather than locking talons. Falcons will often perform impressive aerial dives and rolls during courtship. 

In Short, 

We are almost at the end of our article. We believe you now clearly know why do eagles lock talons. However, in case you are raising any confusion in mind, feel free to reach us in the comment section, and we will hear you out. 

Also, it would be great if you share our article with your friends and help us grow. As we share regular articles on the avians, stay tuned with us and you will soon get another interestingly informative article like this one. 

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