By Jamie Smith
This hungry raptor certainly had an eagle eye – as it swept down from the skies to seize its prey.
The juvenile African hawk-eagle was circling expectantly above a watering hole in Etosha National Park in northwestern Namibia.
After a few minutes its patience paid off as it spied a dove hovering just above the ground.
In one move, it swooped gracefully downwards and underneath its unsuspecting prey before thrusting out its claws and seizing it.
The perfectly timed photographs were taken by South African photographer Clint Ralph, who owns a waste management and recycling company.
Clint, 55, said: “I was doing a personal photographic safari for a friend. Our goal was to come back with some extraordinary images taken in this very hostile desert environment.
“We were sitting at the waterhole one morning sipping coffee. It was a quiet morning with very little activity.
“Suddenly I noticed this juvenile African hawk eagle trawling the skies above the waterhole looking for some unsuspecting prey. I said to my friend he should keep an eye on the raptor as it was definitely in hunting mode.
“The next minute it banked over and went in for the kill. Once it locked its eyes on the dove, it never took them off it again until it was locked in its talons.
“The entire chase and kill happened in under three seconds, and quite an incredible site to witness. It was a once in a lifetime moment to witness this supreme predator in action in such close proximity.
“This has got to be up there with some of my best work. To nail a raptor taking a dove in mid-air at that speed in a three-second period is no mean feat.
“I was absolutely thrilled when I looked down at the back of the camera to see if I had hit the mark.”