We've all been there: guest comes to dinner, guest brings nothing, guest devours everything in sight. That's how things turned out for this unfortunate tawny eagle, who was rudely robbed of her hard-earned meal by a rather familiar onlooker. (We suggest watching this one in HD).

According to Kerry Balaam, a guide in South Africa's Kruger National Park where the video was shot, the female eagle (which you see on the right) had managed to kill a thick knee, a smaller bird native to the area. She was busy preparing the meal for a one-way trip down the gullet when the second eagle joined the party.

"It became evident what the new arrival was after!" Balaam told Latest Sightings. "It wanted to steal the prey from its mate!" Yes, this brazen thief was the bird's nest partner.

Like most raptors, female tawny eagles are slightly larger than the males, making them formidable hunters. The male had likely been lurking close by when the kill was made, and because the eagles typically return to their perches to feed, he knew exactly where the female would take the spoils. 

Tawny eagles mate for life, and typically live 10 to 16 years, so this fellow at least has some time to make up for his courtship faux pas. As the birds head into their breeding season, Balaam suspects we'll be seeing more pairs – and more drama – in the skies. 


Top header image: Mark Roche/Flickr