Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

MEASUREMENTS: The Harpy Eagle has a body length of 35 - 41 inches, a 6 1/2 -foot wingspan, and weighs 10 - 20 pounds. The female can be as much as twice as heavy as her mate.
HABITAT: Harpy Eagles are found in tropical lowland forests from southeastern Mexico to northern Argentina and southern Brazil. This bird prefers large expanses of uninterrupted forest, but will hunt in open areas adjacent to forest patches.

Harpy Eagles feed primarily on animals that live in the trees, like sloths, monkeys, opossums, and some reptiles and birds. Harpy Eagles are highly maneuverable fliers and strike their prey after a rapid pursuit through the trees.

REPRODUCTION: Harpy Eagles build huge nests of sticks and branches in the tallest, or emergent, trees in the rainforest. Harpy females lay 1 - 2 eggs. After the first egg hatches 53 - 58 days later, the other egg is usually ignored and does not hatch. The chick will fledge from 4 1/2 - 6 months of age, but the young bird stays in the parent’s territory for at least 1 year.
NAME DERIVATION: The scientific and common names come from the Greek word, harpe, referring to a bird of prey mentioned by Aristotle, Pliny, and other Greek scholars, and may be from the mythological harpies who were winged creatures with sharp claws, a woman’s face, and a vulture’s body.
  • Harpy Eagles are considered to be one of the world’s largest and most powerful eagles. Although this eagle has hind talons up to the size of grizzly bear claws, they typically can only fly with prey weighing up to approximately one half of their body weight.

  • Harpy Eagles, like many other birds of prey, bring fresh green twigs and branches to the nest. Some researchers think this helps to fumigate the nest against insects and parasites, and provide a cooler environment for the nestling.