Harpy Eagle

ANIMAL:
Harpy Eagle  Harpia harpyja

Type of Animal:
Eagle

Habitat:
Forest, semi-open forest/pasture mosaic, forest areas bordering cities, cultivated fields, cerrado, caatinga, & buriti palm stands, open areas near forest, can be found up to 6,600 ft above sea level

Location(s):
S Mexico to far N Argentina. Much rarer in Mexico & C America than S America.

Appearance:
Chest/back/upper wings charcoal black, white belly, broad black band across upper breast, gray to pale gray head, double crested crown, females larger than males, yellowish feet, long talons, long curved beak. Younger birds white & light grey.

Food/Diet:
Favorite prey monkeys & sloths but will take any mammal up to size of pigs & goats, birds, reptiles

Status in Wild:
Threatened

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos & breeding centers. Reintroductions in areas where rare.

Lifestyle:
Solitary or monogamous pairs

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Tiercel
Female: Hen
Young: Eaglet
Group: Pair
 
Weight:
Male: 9-11 lbs
Female: 13-20 lbs
 
Gestation:
2 months 

Life Span:
25-35 years

Height:
Male: 2.9 ft
Female: 3.4 ft

Body Length:
Male: 2.10 ft
Female: 3.6 ft

Tail Length:
Male: 1.3 ft
Female: 1.5 ft

Only predators of adults are jaguars & large crocodilians. Ocelots prey on young.
 
Largest eagle in New World.
 
Threatened due to habitat loss, deforestation, persecution, slow reproductive rate, low population density, forest fires, trafficking, sport hunting, & agriculture.
 
Often nest in tallest trees in forest.
 
Pairs highly defensive of nest.
 
Only breed every 2-3 years.
 
Sexually mature at 4 years old.
 
Pairs often only raise 1 chick cause if 2 hatch, bigger one often pecks smaller one to death.
 
Like most eagles, they’re active during the day (diurnal).
 
Nests can be 6 ft in diameter & a foot deep, big enough for 2 grown men.
 
Has wingspan of 5.9-7.4 ft, females on the longer side, males on the shorter side.
 
Can go a week w/o eating if prey substantial enough.

Fun Fact(s):
Talon strength comparable to Rottweiler’s jaws.
 
World renowned cinematographer Neil Rettig owns a Harpy Eagle named Cal.
 
Appears on reverse side of Venezuelan 2,000 bolivares fuertes note.
 
A live animal used to portray now extinct Haast’s Eagle of New Zealand on BBC’s Monsters We Met.
 
National bird of Panama & depicted on Panama’s coat of arms.
 
Harpy name refers to resemblance to harpies of Greek mythology, which were creatures w/ heads of maidens, pale faces, long claws, & bird-like bodies that took dead to Hades or Tartarus.
 
Largest talons of any living eagle (3-4 in) rivalling size of brown bear’s claws.
 
Inspiration behind design of Fawkes the Phoenix in Harry Potter movies.

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