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Posted by on Jun 29, 2012 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

6 Amazing Facts About Harpy Eagles


Rarely seen by humans, harpy eagles are one of the biggest eagles in the world. They can go up to 41 inches in height and up to 9 kilograms in weight. Like other eagles, they are perceived as majestic, bold, and big. Harpy eagles are famous on the internet for their unique appearance. Their odd face features make it seem like they are humans wearing a bird costume. It even stirred some debates about whether they are real or not. 


Due to man’s activities, they are on the verge of extinction. They also garnered different names: the Papuan eagles, monster birds, Amazon’s great hunter, one of nature’s killing machines, to name a few. If you want to know more harpy eagle facts, then you came to the right place!


It is the national bird of Panama 

In 2002, harpy eagles became the official national bird of Panama. It is one of the places where these majestic eagles can be found. If you want to spot them, try visiting the region of Darien. As a Neotropical rainforest species, it thrives in a biodiverse environment. 


Its name is derived from Greek mythology 

In Greek mythology, harpies are mythical monsters that are half bird and half man. As spirits of the wind, they are said to be punishers of the guilty. Like in Greek mythology, harpy eagles are known as one of the most powerful predators in the world. They also can prey on animals that are bigger built than them. For example, their diet consists of tree-dwelling animals like sloths, monkeys, or reptiles like iguanas. 


Harpy eagles can move their facial feathers

If you think that their face resembles a man is creepy enough, then there’s more to it. Harpy eagles can move their facial feathers, or disk features, for practical reasons. First, it helps them hear better, especially when they are out hunting. It also helps in redirecting sound waves towards their ears whenever they’re on the flight. 


Harpy eagles don’t migrate

Unlike other birds, harpy eagles establish their territory and hunts in the same area for the rest of their lives. Some of the known areas where these birds reside, specifically in South America, were turned into sanctuaries. Yet, this does not always guarantee their safety from poaching, deforestation, and illegal logging. 


Harpy eagles are monogamous

Once a harpy eagle finds its partner, they stay together forever. A harpy eagle usually mates every 2 to 3 years and lays 2 eggs. Both birds incubate the eggs together. Once one of the eggs hatches, they shift their focus on the hatched egg and provide its needs. Because of this parenting practice, sometimes the other egg dies due to the lack of incubation. 


The largest talons among the eagles 

To put it into perspective, a harpy eagle’s talons are larger than a bear’s claw. If that’s not terrifying, then I don’t know what is. Their talons can go up to 5 inches. It is no surprise why harpy eagles can prey on animals that are larger than them. You don’t want to get on their bad side. Its talons can exert up to 50 kilos of pressure and can crush a bone with no problem.


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