Wednesday, September 7, 2016

By J.E. Rogers

It’s one of the largest birds of prey in the world. With talons the size of a bear’s claws and legs as thick as a man’s wrist, the Harpy Eagle is also one of the world’s most powerful birds. It is named after the Harpyja from Greek mythology. Harpyja was a monster, half bird, and half woman. She was considered a man-eater.

The IUCN* lists the Harpy Eagle as ‘near threatened.’ This categorization indicates that the future status of this eagle is questionable and as a result, it is continually monitored by that organization. Their numbers are not significantly low, but their distribution, although widespread, is sparse. Deforestation is the main reason for the continuing decline in their population.  

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 The Harpy Eagle is the national bird of Panama. Its range includes Central and South America, from southern Mexico towards Paraguay, southern Brazil, and northeastern Argentina. (

Harpy Eagle Range

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This beautiful eagle is distinguished by the crest of feathers on its head. It can have a wingspan of up to six feet, and the female of the species is twice as big as the male, weighing as much as twenty pounds.

A hunting carnivore, the Harpy Eagle is an apex predator in the treetops. They will fly through the trees and capture a monkey, a macaw, or a sloth. The female, being much larger than the male, can carry prey weighing six to eight pounds to the tops of trees where it prefers to eat its meal. They are also known to enjoy reptiles such as snakes or iguanas. 

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Let’s watch Jeff Corwin as he gets a peck on the head by a Harpy Eagle. Jeff provides information about this huge bird, and you’ll get an idea of its size as it sits on Jeff’s hand. Don’t miss it.

One more video. In this short video, you’ll see a Harpy Eagle in flight. You’ll get a very good idea of the power that this magnificent bird possesses.

If you want to learn more about the Harpy Eagle, visit the following sites.

Along with its informative text, the following site has another very interesting video embedded in it. You’ll see some courageous individuals climb a tree to sit next to a Harpy chick while its mother looks menacingly down at them.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, and if you did, don’t forget to share it. Thank you so much for your support.

*IUCN = International Union for Conservation of Nature


Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza, The Gift of Sunderland, and
One Hot Mess, a Child’s Environmental Fable
Award Winning Middle-Grade Fantasy, Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages!

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