You have never seen a large bird until you have seen a Harpy Eagle. Now that’s truly a big bird and people seeing one close up are awestruck for a few moments because rightly speaking, you will never expect to see a bird this large be it in person or a picture. The harpy eagle is massive, proud, fierce and majestic. It has a “don’t mess with me look” and looks straight out of some Pokemon film as a fantasy character. Here are some brilliant facts about the harpy eagle.
The harpy eagle is a bird of prey living in the rainforest, and it is Massive.
Harpy eagles are the internet’s favorite creatures. On Reddit, one particular photo got 91,600 upvotes in less than a day and on Imgur the same picture got 120,000 votes. It is truly and amazing bird that looks something out of some fantasy fairy tale.
Some people think that harpy eagles look like people wearing a bird costume
As a significantly huge bird, harpy eagles are the most powerful besides being the largest raptors in the rainforests across the planet. They are also the biggest species of eagles on Earth with a wingspan that measures 7 feet 4 inches. However they don’t weigh that much where a large bird may weight around just 4-9 kgs.
The bird has a very peculiar face
Among the most peculiar facts about the Harpy eagle is its face that looks like a man or a mask. Incidentally, the harpy eagle was the inspiration behind the design of the phoenix bird in Harry Potter who was named Fawkes. The bird saves Harry in part II, The Chamber of Secrets.
Where they usually live
Harpy Eagles are found mostly in the upper layers of tropical lowland rainforests but the sad thing is that because of habitat destruction, they have been almost extinct in Central America and only around 50,000 exist in the world. The Harpy Eagle is known as the royal hawk in Brazil.
Today the Harpy eagles are found in upper and mid ranges of rain forests where their prey exists in abundance. They need to hunt in open patches of land and can be found living in areas with an elevation of 3000-6000 feet.
The eagle’s talons are nothing to laugh at
One of the facts of harpy eagles is that they have extremely huge and frightening talons where they eat prey that is larger than small birds. Their prey consists of monkeys, porcupines, sloths, birds, snakes and large lizards. They have talons larger than any eagle species on earth which can grow as big as bear’s claws. A harpy eagle’s leg can be as thick as a man’s wrist.
The harpy eagle lives to about 25 to 35 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity.
Harpy eagles grow between 2 feet 10 inches to 3.5 feet long with wingspans that can grow up to 7.4 feet. The female harpy eagles are larger than the males with a weight of 6-9 kgs while males weigh 3.5-5 kg.
Harpy eagles have excellent vision
Harpy eagles have excellent vision and can see something as small as 1 inch almost 200 meters away. That’s how excellent their eyesight is. They hunt alone and with their awesome eyesight, they locate prey in the thick rainforests. They also have a great sense of patience and will sometimes wait up to 23 hours perched on a tree waiting for their prey. They are skilled in flying and maneuvering through the thick forest canopies. Harpies are diurnal meaning they hunt during the day.
They can reach upto speeds of 80 kilometers per hour
A harpy eagle flies so fast, it can reach upto speeds of 80kmph when chasing a prey and will dive down on it to snatch it with its outstretched taloned feet. At such a speed it could even snatch up larger prey like goats.
They have short, broad wings and can fly almost straight up too
Yes, among facts of harpy eagles, their broad wings allow them to fly straight up too and attack prey above. Harpy eagles when seeing an opportunity will also attack large carnivores like kinkajous, coatis and tayras. They may also prey on birds like macaws and reptiles like iguanas and snakes.
The Harpy eagle is on the extinction list
The IUCN has listed the harpy eagle on a global list of nearly threatened species while CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) considers is threatened with extinction mainly because of encroachment and loss of habitat because of logging, cattle ranching , prospecting and agriculture.
The 15th eagle was released in 2009
In Belize, the 15th harpy named Hope was released to commemorate the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2009. It remains to be seen if the harpy population manages to grow or actually becomes extinct one day.