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Meet The Harpy Eagle – One Of The Largest Birds In The World
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Meet The Harpy Eagle – One Of The Largest Birds In The World

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Wow, now that’s a big bird! That’s the way most people react when they see a harpy eagle for the first time, whether in person or in a picture. The beautiful bird is, well, absolutely massive. Fierce. Proud. Majestic. Larger than life. With a steely glint in its eyes that practically says, “You’d better not mess with me, kiddo, I eat folks like you for breakfast.”

However, if you wouldn’t want to meet one in real life (and understandably so), then you can learn about the harpy eagle in this article that we’ve prepared for you. Full of pictures and interesting facts, it’s almost as good (if not safer) than meeting a harpy eagle up close!

To some, the harpy eagle might look so peculiar that from one angle, it seems a bit like a person cosplaying a bird straight from the Uncanny Valley. From another, it looks like a Pokemon (please tell me that you see it too). While from a third, it looks like some bizarre creature that might have been kept in a secure cage somewhere in Area 51, after crash-landing in an alien spacecraft that was heading to Earth from Blargon-7.

Either way, we’re here to dispel the myths surrounding this majestical bird with some solid harpy eagle facts, a dash of pictures to show its real beauty, and sprinkle it all with some fun tidbits. So, keep on reading!

The harpy eagle is a bird of prey that lives in the rainforest, and it is huge

Image credits: crg339

Image credits: birds.nature

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Image credits: animalplanet

Harpy Eagle Size And Weight

The harpy eagle stands as one of the biggest birds in the world. These fierce apex predators can reach up to 40 inches (102 cm) in length, with females usually a bit larger than males. Female harpies have a weight range of 13 to 20 pounds (6-9 kgs), while males range between 9 and 11 pounds (4-5 kgs). However, the biggest harpy eagle documented weighed a hefty 27 pounds (12kgs)! Interestingly, the harpy eagle wingspan is not so impressive compared to its stature – just around 7ft 4in (around 2 meters). Which is, if you ask us, still quite impressive!

Image credits: leon_moore_nature_experience

Image credits: DecorahPagent

Image credits: Mitternacht90

The Harpy Eagle Appearance

The harpy eagle dons a fashionable coat of dark gray feathers accented by a white underside. A distinctive black plumage band adorns its neck, while a crest of gray feathers forms on its head. Basically, it’s wearing a crown, because the harpy eagle is the king of its habitat!

Besides the crown, the harpy eagle talons are also quite impressive and can rival the size of a grizzly bear’s claws. These talons are not just for show as they can apply pressure amounting to several hundred pounds, allowing these eagles to shatter bones of their prey the very instant it catches them!

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Harpy eagles look incredibly serious and goofy at the same time

Image credits: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

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Image credits: cuatrok77

Image credits: cuatrok77

The Harpy Eagle Diet

Yeah, you guessed it – the harpy eagle is 100% a carnivore! The staple in their diet is tree-dwelling mammals such as sloths, monkeys, and opossums, although they also like to snack on macaws, reptiles, and iguanas, too. Females usually hunt for larger prey, leaving smaller morsels to be caught by males.

The bird has a very peculiar face

Image credits: cuatrok77

Image credits: Colin Hepburn

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Image credits: The Next Gen Scientist

Harpy Eagle Habitat And Geography

These majestical birds live in the rainforests of Central and South America. They usually prefer places with dense, uninterrupted forests and spend most of their time up in the canopy. In fact, they are very rarely seen flying over the forest canopy or in any open spaces! However, to find the precise harpy eagle location for bird watching would require quite a bit of research, simply because they are pretty good at hiding and are quite elusive.

The harpy eagle is most usually found in countries like Brazil, Ecuador, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, and northeast Argentina. If you’re lucky, you can also spot the harpy eagle in Mexico and Central America, however, the populations there are fairly small.

The eagle’s talons are nothing to laugh at

Image credits: Judie Custer

Image credits: cuatrok77

Fun Facts About The Harpy Eagle

With basic info out of the way, you might be ready to learn some interesting facts about the harpy eagle!

1. Harpy eagles are monogamous and since their lifespan is around 30 years, they spend most of them with their soulmate!

2. Harpies build massive nests out of sticks at around the size of a double bed! A double bed that’s hanging in a tree at the height of around 100-165 feet (30-50 meters)! They usually use around 300 branches to build these huge nests and continually bring fresh twigs to replace the old ones to keep it clean from parasites.

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3. Despite the massive harpy eagle size, it only eats around 1.75lbs (around 800 grams) of food per day and does not have to hunt every day. That is because they stash their prey in trees and devour it over several days.

4. While the harpy eagle is the national bird of Panama, you can also find its image used in the emblem of the Colombian Air Force, as the Ecuadorian symbol of biodiversity, and on Venezuelan 10 bolívares bills!

5. The harpy eagle is also known as the ecological detective. That is because their presence means there’s a total balance in the ecosystem.

6. Just recently, a wondrous image of a rainbow harpy eagle has emerged on the internet. However, although the bird depicted in the image is truly stunning, it was only a photo edit and harpy eagles come only in their usual grayish tones.

7. And last but not the least – Fawkes, the Phoenix from the Harry Potter movies was modeled on the looks of a harpy eagle!

Hopefully you’ve learned something new about these stunning creatures today! And while that’s all for now in the facts department, you could always continue scrolling through our selection of harpy eagle pictures for more interesting content!

This is what people thought of the majestic bird!

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hermanlastlov avatar
robhoeppner avatar
Robert Höppner
Community Member
4 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The biggest eagle in the world is the Steller's Sea Eagle, the Harpy Eagle is like the 9th on the list... but still, what a magnificent beast!

callie-ffnet avatar
logical fallacy
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

According to wikipedia it's unclear which of the eagles is the largest, though the Steller's Sea Eagle is indeed the heaviest.

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christineschneider avatar
Beeps
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like leaked on set photos from a Donnie Darko sequel. All joking aside though, what an amazing creature! I’d love to have one as a friend. (Well, I sure wouldn’t want one for an enemy.)

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hermanlastlov avatar
robhoeppner avatar
Robert Höppner
Community Member
4 years ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The biggest eagle in the world is the Steller's Sea Eagle, the Harpy Eagle is like the 9th on the list... but still, what a magnificent beast!

callie-ffnet avatar
logical fallacy
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

According to wikipedia it's unclear which of the eagles is the largest, though the Steller's Sea Eagle is indeed the heaviest.

Load More Replies...
christineschneider avatar
Beeps
Community Member
4 years ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like leaked on set photos from a Donnie Darko sequel. All joking aside though, what an amazing creature! I’d love to have one as a friend. (Well, I sure wouldn’t want one for an enemy.)

Load More Comments
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