Jatayu is a great eagle and was at one point a dear friend of Dasaratha. When he comes across Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita in the forest, he vows to stay alive and protect them until Rama's exile comes to an end. Ravana kills him when Jatayu tries to prevent Ravana from abducting Sita.
Jatayu Character Timeline in The Ramayana
The timeline below shows where the character Jatayu appears in The Ramayana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
4. Encounters in Exile
5. The Grand Tormentor
...the animals to tell Rama what happened. Ravana laughs at Sita as she insults him. Jatayu challenges Ravana, telling him that Rama will destroy all the rakshasas if Ravana doesn't let... (full context)
7. When the Rains Cease