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Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

 

This article speaks about the largest eagle on Earth, the harpy eagle. That kind of predator is a top one in its surroundings, that feeds on reptiles, large birds, and even mammals that dwell in large trees. This eagle has taken its name after the mythological Greek creature called the Harpy.

 

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Overview:

Scientific Name: Harpia harpyja

Weight: 8.8-11 Ibs (4-4.8 kg) (male)

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Size: 69-88 inches (176-224 cm) wingspan

Where can they be found? Mexico to Argentina – Southern Central America and the northern half of South America

That is known as the only one which possesses the most powerful wings, claws, and even a beak that is as sharp as razor to tear flesh. The harpy eagle is characterized by a double crest that will rise or flatten if it is startled or alarmed. This bird also possesses a grey plumage on the head, a complete white abdomen, a jet black back as well as a black band across the upper torso.

Harpy eagle females give birth to one chick every 2 to 3 years, after mating for life. In fact, the female lays 2 eggs and after about 8 weeks of incubation, however, mama will totally take care of the chick that hatch first whereas the other will be ignored and simply die. At first, the male is responsible for feeding the baby, later on, that duty will be taken over by the female.

After 5 months, the baby eagles will develop their coat of fledge or feather, however before 4 months of that, the young would be able to totter around the nest as well as stand by itself. Parents continue feeding their chick from 6 months to one year, while they are trying to wean it off of feeding it until it becomes able to hunt for its own.

When the eagle is 4 to 6 years old, it will be grown-up enough to produce its own children. Harpy Eagles, that are carnivores, are the peak predators in their surroundings; they are at the top of their food chain. Monkeys and sloths form the biggest portion of these carnivores’ diet. Harpy eagle could take the giant spider monkey and kill it then bring it back to the nest with no effort, What a superpower!

Moreover, they can also prey on big animals and eat them on branches closer to the ground like deer, and that’s called perch hunting. That technique requires good scanning for prey upon branches then perching with quick decisive swoops to the prey with talons.

Harpy eagles prefer making their nests in large trees at high altitudes. They use large sticks to create the nest frame while adding seedpods, furs, and soft mosses to make it comfortable. Now, the 5-foot wide and 4-foot-thick nest is ready now to be used as well as reused for years.

 

IUCN labels this large bird of prey as near threatened, and it is near extinct in its more northern territories such as Panama.

 

Harpy Eagle. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

The population of harpy eagles is decimated by deforestation because of logging, raising cattle, and agriculture. The main reason is that the harpy eagles need specific types of trees to raise offspring and to build nests.

They are an easy target for poaching because of their huge size. Furthermore, they do not recover in a fast way as a single baby eagle has to be cared for by pair of eagles.

 

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