Did girlfriend know?Harpy Eagles are among the world largest and also most powerful eagles. Their rear talons are around 3-4 inches long – the exact same size as a grizzly bear’s claws!Like plenty of other bird of prey, Harpy Eagles proceed to lug fresh eco-friendly twigs and also branches to the colony after the chick has hatched. Part researchers think this helps save insects and also parasites away and provides a cooler setting for the nestling.A female can weigh increase to 2 times much more than her mate.Deforestation and shooting room the two key threats come the survival of Harpy Eagles.

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Other Eagles


Brown Snake-Eagle
Circaetus cinereus

Bonelli's Eagle
Aquila fasciata

Short-toed Snake-Eagle
Circaetus gallicus
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how The Peregrine money is helpingToday, much more and an ext people space moving into forested areas and also many natural resources, prefer trees and also minerals, are increasingly in demand. As a result, it is coming to be harder for countless wildlife species, including Harpy Eagles, come find good areas in which come live. In main America, the ns of Harpy Eagles was particularly noticed as the types became extinct in nations such as El Salvador and also began disappearing easily from others.

In 1989 The Peregrine Fund started a regime to learn exactly how to each other Harpy Eagles in captivity and also to return the species to some of its rainforest habitat. Through the teamwork of plenty of Latin American nations such together Panama, Ecuador and Venezuela, i m sorry donated eagles native their nationwide zoos and comparable facilities, The Peregrine money had enough Harpy Eagles to begin a captive reproduction program. The adult eagles were all sent to The Peregrine Fund’s headquarters in Boise, Idaho.

Boise is lot colder and also drier than the places where most Harpy Eagles live. To aid make the birds feeling at home and also thus an ext likely to breed, The Peregrine Fund developed special chambers designed come mimic some of the conditions of a organic rain forest. Despite these efforts, however, only 10 Harpy Eagle chicks survived to hatching in about seven years.

Our biologists realized that to attain the highest production possible, the eagles needed to be in an area more consistent through their natural habitat, i beg your pardon would include an out area v warmer temperatures, greater humidity, and also adequate sunlight. The appointment to creating a more productive captive populace of Harpy Eagles to be realized with the construction of the Neotropical Raptor Center and also breeding facility in Panama City, Panama, in 2001. At the new facility, 17 eagles flower in the an initial year alone!

Almost 50 Harpy Eagles have actually been exit in Panama and also Belize since 1998. The captive reproduction phase finished in 2006 and also the critical captive birds to be released in 2008. Through this effort, The Peregrine money gained valuable knowledge and experience that will certainly be useful in ensuring the survival of this and other large, tropical woodland raptors.

While the release regime was in complete swing, The Peregrine Fund also carried out substantial education campaign designed to teach civilization that Harpy Eagles no dangerous and also that they have to be protected. Peregrine money educators carried out talks at schools and also in communities, hosted teacher cultivate workshops, developed radio messages and commercial jingles, and also hosted festivals. All of this assisted to readjust people’s mindsets toward this beautiful eagle. With some help from us, the nation of Panama declared the Harpy Eagle together its nationwide bird ~ above April 10, 2002!

A large part that The Peregrine Fund’s education project was made possible due to a Harpy Eagle named Luigi. Luigi hatched in Boise and traveled to schools and also communities in Panama. He assisted teach civilization that Harpy Eagles space gentle birds and also deserve to it is in protected. Luigi retired in 2013 and also moved come Florida.

Today, the Peregrine money supports one of the longest research studies on Harpy Eagles ever. For more than 10 years, biologists have been observing the wild populace in Darien, Panama. Every day, they learn more and much more about this eagle’s diet, habitat needs, nesting behavior, and also other amazing facts. This information will help The Peregrine Fund and other organizations better determine exactly how to protect Harpy Eagles and increase your numbers.

Where lock live

Historically, Harpy Eagles were uncovered from southern Mexico through main and south America all the means down to northern Argentina. Sadly, Harpy Eagles are disappearing mainly since people are destroying their habitat and shooting them. In central America, the largest known breeding populace is discovered in Panama, close come the border through Colombia. Harpy Eagles are most likely extinct in El Salvador. Just one nesting pair has actually been observed in Belize.

The Harpy Eagle is a Neotropical rainforest species. It lives at low elevations where it can uncover prey and big trees for nests. Its rainforest home is lush and vibrant and also contains some of the highest possible biodiversity in the world. The Harpy Eagle lives amongst jaguars, macaws, tapir, monkeys, sloths, snakes, frogs, and many other plants and also animals – each one playing vital role in that is environment. While these eagles prefer big expanses that pristine forest, Peregrine money biologists have actually learned that they have the right to survive in some habitats that have actually been changed by humans as lengthy as there is enough to eat, they have actually tall trees to colony in, and people don’t harm them.

What they do

Imagine a large, forest-dwelling bird through legs nearly as thick together your wrists. Imagine a bird able come hunt heavy sloths or chimpanzees with nothing however the toughness of the claws, toes and also legs. Imagine a bird that can mate because that life and also that shares all parenting duties. Imagine a bird the cares because that its chick for approximately the first two year of the life. If you deserve to imagine a bird v all this characteristics, you deserve to imagine a Harpy Eagle.

Harpy Eagles are among the most an effective raptors in the world. From wing tip to soup tip, lock are much longer than plenty of full-grown human beings are tall. Unequal the Andean Condor and numerous other raptors, Harpy Eagles space not constructed for true soaring. Castle have reasonably short wings and long tails that act prefer a rudder top top a boat to command through dense vegetation. Quite than paris long distances at one time, Harpy Eagles travel reasonably slowly, moving from tree come tree through the forest.

Harpy Eagles space diurnal (active in the daytime) and also spend much of your time perched in high trees once they room not proactively hunting or looking for food. Once they are hunting, they sometimes drop listed below the woodland canopy come look because that prey. Even in the daytime, small sunlight penetrates the thick forest and it is a lot of darker there than it would certainly be in the open. So, in enhancement to your keen eyesight, Harpy Eagles use their hearing to assist them decide prey.

They are one of the few diurnal raptors that have a face disk, a trait castle share through owls. The facial disk is written of feather that kind a circle roughly the bird’s face. The disk deserve to be lifted or lowered at will. Once the feathers of the face disk room raised, they help direct sound to the birds’ ears, i beg your pardon are located on the political parties of that is head. To find out how this works, cup her hands behind her ears and listen. Friend might notification that every little thing you space listening to seems louder. This eagles likewise have a crest written of a few long feather that likewise can it is in raised and also lowered in ~ will.

Harpy Eagles don’t hunt every day, together they have the right to feed on the very same kill for numerous days in a row. Now, if you think that a dead pet must get relatively stinky after 3 days in the warm of a Neotropical forest, you room right! Harpy Eagles don’t have containers or cool areas to save their food choose we do, yet their bodies have actually a greater tolerance because that eating meat the is numerous days old and also slightly rotten. Despite it may sound gross, this help Harpy Eagles endure and means that they have to hunt less. Unlike plenty of raptors, they carry out not should eat every day. In fact, they can go a main or much more without food!

Harpy Eagles, prefer all height predators, pat a an extremely important function in your environment. They are what is well-known as an umbrella species. Just as several human being can stand under a large umbrella and also be safeguarded from the rain, for this reason too have the right to many varieties of wildlife be protected by conserving one species like the Harpy Eagle. To protect the eagles, us must defend the monkeys and sloths and other pets they need for food, the plants and also animals the monkeys and sloths feed on, and also the trees that Harpy Eagles nest in, which helps protect the other animals that use these trees for food, shelter, and space. Conserving Harpy Eagles and also their habitat instantly provides protection for all the various other plants and also animals the live over there too.

Why they require our help

It can seem the a bird as huge and as strong as a Harpy Eagle would not require our help, but the fact is that huge animals, especially predators, are periodically the people that become endangered first. Many large predators have actually a tough time making it through in today’s world since they generally need an ext habitat and space in which come survive, they depend on other pets for food, and also many people fear them and also sometimes kill them. The Harpy Eagle is no exception.

When woodlands are cut down, many of the pets who when lived over there are forced to move. With less and also less easily accessible forest, there regularly isn’t sufficient habitat to assistance all the wildlife that demands a home. Countless end up dying. Others are compelled to live on forest edges, which puts castle at higher risk of gift harmed through people. In 2002, The Peregrine money did a survey in Panama to uncover out why civilization might death a Harpy Eagle. The peak answers every were regarded a misunderstanding around the bird’s behavior. Sometimes world were afraid the eagles would strike them or their families. Others were simply curious and wanted to check out a bird up close. Through research and also education, The Peregrine Fund continues to assistance Harpy Eagle conservation.

What they eat

A raptor’s feet recognize what that eats. One look in ~ a Harpy Eagle’s foot leaves no doubt that these birds are developed for hunting good-sized prey. Their powerful legs and feet and long, sharp talons space designed to record prey that would certainly be off-limits for most other birds. Two-foot-long Howler chimpanzees (not consisting of their tails), 8-pound sloths, also baby deer are all on this eagle’s menu.

Harpy Eagles have a differed diet. They room able come fly between trees and also branches with exceptional agility for their great size and are expert at capturing arboreal animals, or pets that invest all or lot of their resides in trees. This can incorporate iguanas, parrots, porcupines, coatimundis, and also raccoons. They have also been checked out preying on Black Vultures and foxes! despite they choose to hunt high increase in the trees, they will hunt ground dwelling animals, including javelina, armadillos, and agoutis.

Even despite Harpy Eagles are adjusted to hunting huge prey animals, lock still have to be an extremely careful. After ~ all, the isn’t only the predators that are equipped with an excellent defenses. Monkeys and sloths, because that example, have sharp teeth and also claws. Through one swipe or bite, they can easily injure any predator. Peregrine fund biologists once discovered a Harpy Eagle v a large, deep reduced on his left leg. Lock suspected the he had actually been pains by a prey animal defending itself. Luckily, the biologists were able to treat the bird and also release it. Younger birds, in particular, space susceptible to injury while they room learning just how to become effective hunters.

Nest, eggs, and also young

Harpy Eagles reach adulthood when they are about five years old. A young bird’s feathers are practically all white and also light grey. At the very least once a year, every birds go v molt, once their old feathers loss out and also are replaced by new ones. Because that the first five years, a young Harpy Eagle"s feathers grow in a tiny darker after every molt. As soon as it get adulthood, the bird proceeds to molt however its feather no longer adjust color.

Adult Harpy Eagles have black ago feathers, a dark grey face, and white ship feathers. This coloration could assist Harpy Eagles recognize other members that their varieties who are prepared to mate. Because that an adult Harpy Eagle, detect a mate and also raising young are very important. Scientists believe that Harpy Eagles might stay v the same companion because that life. This way that a male and also a female could stay together for 25-30 years!

After a suitable partner is found, that is time to look because that a nesting site. Harpy Eagles colony in few of the tallest tree in the forest. They choose the highest suggest on the trunks of this trees, just where the branches begin to spread out, at roughly 130 feet or 40 meters high. As soon as they choose the tree, nest structure begins.

Nests are composed of huge sticks and branches gathered from surrounding trees. When a Harpy Eagle locates an sufficient branch, it will certainly clutch it in that is mighty talons, all the when flapping its wing vigorously till the branch breaks off the tree. It then carries the branch back to the host tree and arranges the in the ever-growing nest. In all, the pair will lay down more than 300 branches! The result is a nest that deserve to be six feet in diameter and an ext than one foot deep. 2 grown males fit easily into a Harpy Eagle nest.

Some Harpy Eagle bag reuse the same swarm over and also over, while others can have several swarms they usage off and also on end the years. When the swarm is completed, the female will certainly lay one or two big white eggs. Despite the masculine may help in incubation, the female does the many sitting top top the egg to save the chicks arising inside warm and safe. She demands to incubate she eggs for approximately 55 days. Imagine sitting in the very same spot for nearly two months straight, just taking occasional breaks to stretch your wings or to eat. The is not an easy task, however Harpy Eagle mothers execute it with ease.

Even so, most frequently only one chick the end of the two eggs will survive. Though scientists don’t totally understand why, some think that Harpy Eagles lay the 2nd egg together a “backup” in case something happens to the first. And also since raising one Harpy Eagle chick takes so lot time and energy, it would certainly be too an overwhelming to shot to raise two chicks. Therefore, scientists believe that as soon as the very first chick hatches, the female stop incubating the second egg. If an egg no incubated, the chick inside isn’t able to develop and hatch. If, for part reason, the an initial egg doesn’t hatch, the pair has an additional chance come raise young native the 2nd egg.

Harpy Eagles room wonderful parents that work tough to safeguard their chicks. From the moment the female an initial lays she eggs until the hide is around four months old, she will certainly spend practically all her time in ~ the nest. Meanwhile, the male spends his time and energy trying to find food for himself, the female, and his young.

A freshly hatched Harpy Eagle hide is so little that the fits perfectly into the palm the a person’s hand. In only 5 or six months, though, it will reach adult size! due to the fact that the chick grow so quickly, it requirements to eat a lot and it demands to eat often. Once the chick is very young, the mother will tear off small pieces of meat for the chick and also delicately feeding it with her bill. Later, together the chick grows, that will be able to tear off and eat the meat top top its own. At roughly five or six months the age, the young eagle will fledge, or fly for the an initial time. That first couple of flights can be shaky and awkward, but after just a couple of days, it will certainly be flying nearly as well as its parents.

The young bird will continue to be dependent ~ above the adult for the very first one to two years that life. As soon as it is hunting well enough on that own, the juvenile will certainly disperse, or leaving its parents" territory and also look for a home of its own. Once a young bird turns four or five years old, that will start looking because that a partner and also the bicycle of reproduction will start all end again. A pair of Harpy Eagles typically raises young every two years. They typically won’t lay much more eggs when they are still caring for a young bird in their territory.

Idaho Connection

Harpy Eagles room a Neotropical species, which method they won"t be found living in the forests or deserts of Idaho. Also so, Idaho is vital state because that this species. At The Peregrine Fund"s captive reproduction facilities, 10 Harpy Eagles were hatched and also raised in the so late 1990s. This young were later released right into their aboriginal habitat in Panama.

Harpy Eagle and also The World center for bird of Prey

The World center for birds of Prey is a an excellent place to start learning around Harpy Eagles. You can see Grayson, a male Harpy Eagle, in his specially-designed chamber. We have a an installed eagle top top display, genuine Harpy Eagle feather you can touch, and a short video that chronicles the exciting journey of our biologists as they work-related to flower young eagles, raise them, and ultimately relax them right into the dense forests that Panama.

Research Resources


A Harpy Eagle: https://www.whitehawkbirding.com/size-of-harpy-eagle/

Aguiar-Silva, F.H., Sanaiotti, T.M. And also Luz, B.B., 2014. Food behavior of the Harpy Eagle, a optimal predator native the Amazonian rainforest canopy. Journal of Raptor Research48(1), pp.24-35.

Global Raptor details Network. 2020. Types account: Harpy Eagle Harpia harpyja. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org

González, J.D.J.V. And Vargas, F.H., 2011. Nesting thickness of Harpy Eagles in Darien with population size estimates for Panama. Journal the Raptor Research45(3), pp.199-210.

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Rettig, N.L., 1978. Breeding actions of the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja). The Auk95(4), pp.629-643.