Fun Facts

After hearing about how incredible the Harpy Eagle is as a hunter and flyer, there are still so many fun and interesting facts to know about this eagle. The greatness of the Harpy Eagle can actually be traced back to its actual name. A Harpy was a demonic creature from the underworld that would snatch people from the land and bring them back to the underworld (Piper 2007).  This is pretty accurate for what the eagle can actually do. A healthy adult, female Harpy Eagle can live to weigh in upwards of 20 pounds, and can use its highly adapted 6.5 foot wingspan to carry almost three-quarters of its weight up to its nest. It would not be able to do this though unless it had some massive talons. The Harpy Eagles talons are gigantic by any standard. They can grow to be about 5 inches in length, which is bigger than any other eagle, and also larger than a grizzly bear’s claws. These can cause some serious damage considering that most of the prey the eagle eats are small mammals (            

Harpy Eagle resting on branch. Photo taken by cuatrok77, published on Flickr  Not only are these eagles anatomy out of this world, but they also have some pretty   
  amazing nest building skills. You can find these nests in upwards of 140 feet above the
  surface of the forests in which the eagles live. They usually measure an astounding 4
  feet in bulk and 5 feet in length. That literally is enough for some college students to lay
  out on, but it is not something that I would recommend with the Harpy Eagle having a
  tendency to be agitated easily ( These nests are usually built in the
  kapok tree, which cutting down is considered a taboo for many tribes and populations
  where this tree resides. This for a long period of time has kept the Harpy Eagle
  population constant and even growing, but recently deforestation has caused drastic
  declines in the population of Harpy Eagles as well as their prey (Piper 2007). These
  eagles take up a tremendous amount of territory. A pair of mating Harpy Eagles can
  usually inhabit a range of up to 30 km squared. This is a plot of land that many of us
  would only dream of owning (            

One last and final unique aspect to the Harpy Eagle is the way that they mate. Just like us humans, these eagles have similar ways of showing affection. One way that they do this is by rubbing their bills together. This has not been thoroughly studied, but I believe that under those spectacular feathers, there is just a big heart. These eagles also put  tremendous time into taking care of their young. A young Harpy Eagle can be fed by its parents for almost a year until it starts to hunt for itself. They also seem to breed in intervals of every 3 years ( This breeding behavior paired with them only producing one offspring has led the Harpy Eagles to very low numbers in its natural habitats. The eagles have also been targeted by the exotic pet trade industries, not for selling but for attacking macaws. These macaws are prized birds that sell for a lot of money. This has led to many occasions where there a mass hunts for these majestic eagles (Piper 2007). It may not be long before the Harpy Eagle is only raised in captivity.