A hungry leopard snatches an unsuspecting bird out of the air – before losing its grip and allowing its prey to make a miraculous escape.

Shot in June 2015, the dramatic footage was taken by US tourist Gabriella Kurz, 22, in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

The video shows a juvenile big cat stalking two large hornbills before launching an audacious aerial attack and grabbing one of the birds as it starts to fly away.

What a great day to have wings!

What a great day to have wings!

But to the astonishment of the watching safari group, the feathered animal managed to wrestle free and fly to safety.

Washington-born Gabriella explained that it was rare to see a leopard hunting such a large bird.

‘We were all very surprised when the leopard attacked – our guide said this was a very unique incident as hornbills are not a typically hunted prey by leopards,’ says Gabriella.

‘We had been driving along the road and someone had spotted the leopard on the side of the road hiding from the hornbills – we quickly pulled over and watched the cat make its move.

‘The leopard was probably very young and quite hungry, which would explain the attack and also why the hornbill was able to get away.’

And Gabriella, who was enjoying her first safari trip, revealed that the lucky bird appeared to be unharmed and was able to take refuge in a nearby tree.

‘After the hornbill escaped it actually landed on the tree which you can see in the background. The leopard actually jumped up the tree but the bird was able to quickly fly away.’