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All you need to know about Harpy Eagle (Harpia Harpyja)

The Harpy Eagle is a Neotropical eagle species, commonly known as the American Harpy Eagle or Brazilian Harpy Eagle. The binomial name Harpia Harpyja is the largest and most powerful raptor throughout its range. 

There is so much more that you can learn about this interesting species. So, if you are wanting to do so, make sure you keep reading this article for more. We promise; you will not be disappointed. It is bound to help you.

Description of Harpy Eagle

The upper side of the Harpy Eagle is covered with black feathers, and the underside is mostly white. It has a broad black band across the upper breast, separating the grey head from the white belly. The head of the Harpy Eagle is pale grey, crowned with a double crest.

The tail of the Harpy Eagle is black, with three grey bands on the upper side and three white bands on the underside. The female Harpy Eagle typically weighs around 6 to 9 kg, and it is cited as the largest Eagle with the largest bird species to reside in Central America. The wingspan of the Harpy Eagle surpasses many large Eagles who live in open habitats. 

Distribution and habitat of Harpy Eagle

These particular types of Eagle are typically found in the rainforest habitat, from the canopy to the emergent trees. Their preference is tropical lowland rainforest. They tend to avoid places subjected to deforestation and can be found in more open forests. They are even found pasturing near forests, especially when the prey is rare. 

Harpy Eagles are naturally found from Mexico to South America and even as far as Argentina. Most of the Harpy Eagles in Central America have been exterminated due to deforestation. In parts of Panama, Harpy Eagles are readily and openly found, and their highest population density in South America is found in Brazil. They are also found in areas where high-grade forestry is practiced.

Diet of Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagles eat mostly tree-dwelling mammals and primarily look for Orey who reside on trees. Sloths and Monkeys appeared to be their prime prey. Sloths are an important part of the Harpy Eagle’s diet as this species comprises 70% of the prey brought to hatchlings, and Monkeys are also their common prey.

Their regular diet includes Capuchin, Saki, Howler, Titi, Spider, Squirrel, and Monkeys. They’re uncommon, albeit prey is reptiles, parrots, Kinkajous, Porcupines, Armadillos, Anteaters, and Coatimundis. 

Behaviour of Harpy Eagle

Harpy adults belong to the top of the food chain, and they are highly territorial. They also require square miles of Forest to survive and reproduce. The Harpy eagles protect their Territory from the invasion of other Eagles, allowing them to have a consistent food source. 

Pairs of Eagles mate for life and reside in the same Territory. The female Harpies mostly take the responsibility of raising the chicks, and the males also participate in the same. Both the Harpy parents viciously protect their young Harpies from their predators too.

Conservation status of Harpy Eagle

The International Union nearly threatens the Harpy Eagle and Jaguar for Conservation of Nature. This is because of widespread habitat loss and hunting. Harpy Eagles are classified as vulnerable in countries including Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and are critically endangered in Nicaragua. According to some genetic studies, it is estimated that around 5,000 Harpy Eagles in the Amazon and 300 in the Atlantic forest are left. 

How do Harpy Eagles mate for life?

The Harpy Eagles build big nests up to 5 feet across and 3 feet deep. The female Eagles lay two eggs and only reproduce every two or three years. Both The Harpy parents incubate the eggs for two months, and generally, only one chick comes out. The Harpy chicks start to fly at approximately six months old but remain reliant on their parents for another 6 to 10 months. The chicks do not reach their sexual maturity until they are 4 to 6.

Fun facts about Harpy Eagle

Being a neotropical species of Eagle, they are the world’s largest Eagle species. They can grow more than one meter and have a wingspan of about 5.7 feet. They are known as avian emperors of America. They are also one of the most impressive birds of prey in the world. As apex predators, they can even prey on Monkeys and Brocket Deers. They also have long grizzly bear claws to manage to prey on moderate size mammals. 

The bottom line

Harpy Eagles have very distinctive traits and unique characteristics, and no wonder they are considered the strongest Eagles on the planet. Unlike other Eagles, their diet and their living habitats are very different. They are infamous for making it very challenging to locate nests, even for skilled explorers. However, they are becoming extinct due to a rise in hunting and a widespread loss of habitat.

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