There’s no denying that the Harpy Eagle is a unique creature with its expressive face, a collar of feathers, and black and grey tones.
The Harpy Eagle is considered to be one of the most majestic birds, and only a few people have actually seen then with their bare eyes. These creatures are bold and beautiful. Their life span ranges from 25-35 years. South American explorers named these birds after ‘harpies,’ who are flying creatures from Greek mythology.
This bird is dark gray has a unique appearance with feathers on top of its head that fans into a bold crest when feeling threatened. Their wingspan is up to 6.5 feet, while their height varies from 35 to 41 inches.
Did you know that the Harpy Eagle was the national bird of Panama? It is considered the heaviest and most powerful of birds.
Eagles are powerful and have incredibly sharp claws. They possess impressive power in their wings. They have known to carry prey weighing four times their own weight.
Their habitat consists of forested areas ranging from Mexico to Northern Argentina. Harpies build their nests 90-140 feet above the ground. These birds don’t vocalize much.
Their great talons can snatch up monkeys and sloths that weigh up to 17 pounds. They feed on possums, snakes, iguanas, porcupines, and young deer.
Harpy Eagles are clever enough to save their energy through flying below the forest canopy. But when needed, it can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour.
These birds are monogamous and are likely to mate for life. The parents protect their eggs fiercely. The female lays two eggs; the second one is an insurance policy if the first egg fails to hatch. The newborn chick is white and is ready to fledge at about 5-6 months of age.
The first time a Harpy Eagle exhibited was in a zoo in 1940 at the San Diego Zoo. You can see them on the Zoo’s Eagle Trail.
Due to deforestation, poaching, and hunting for sport, these birds have become a rare species. But now Zoo Miami has taken the initiative to preserve these birds, and The Peregrine Fund also launched the Harpy Eagle Release Project in 1989. These actions will help protect Harpy Eagles and keep them aloft.
Featured image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harpy_Eagle_clutching_captured_bird_-_Itirapina_Reserve.jpg / https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harpy_Eagle_-Oklahoma_Zoo-6a.JPG