Harpy eagle

Species profile

Name: the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a large, tropical eagle.

Appearance: they are easily recognised by their distinctive pale grey heads and large crested crown-feathers. Their bodies are covered with grey-black feathers and their stomachs are white.

Size: harpy eagles typically weigh between 6 to 9 kg and have a wingspan of 1.9 to 2.2 metres. This makes them one of the largest eagles in the world alongside the Philippine eagle – which is slightly longer but weighs slightly less – and the Steller’s sea eagle – which is slightly heavier.

Diet: their main sources of food are sloths and monkeys although they also eat porcupines, squirrels, anteaters, armadillos, and even kinkajous. A study in 2018 found more than 100 species being recorded as prey for harpy eagles!

Did you know: harpy eagles have the largest talons of any eagle species. These huge talons allow them to snatch live sloths and monkeys from tree branches when still in flight. They have been recorded lifting prey equal to their own bodyweight! Adult females regularly grab large howler and spider monkeys weighing 6 to 9 kg and fly off without landing. 

Location: they can be found in rainforests from Mexico (where they are almost extinct), through Central America (with most of the population in Panama), and into South America where they reach as far down as Argentina.

Best places to see harpy eagles

According to reports submitted to WildSide, the best places to see harpy eagles are as follows:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
very good

Photo credit: Andy Rogers under a Creative Commons license from Flickr

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