Martina kwenda
The Harpy Eagle !

The Harpy Eagle !

The Harpy Eagle ( Harpia harpyja)

The Harpy Eagle  or the Giant Forest Eagle is considered one of the most powerful and largest raptors globally. Its  the only eagle species not present in Africa.

This dark gray bird of prey has a very distinctive look, with feathers atop its head that fan into a bold crest when the bird feels threatened. Some smaller gray feathers create a facial disk that may focus sound waves to improve the bird’s hearing, similar to owls. 

Harpe Eagle

Its feathers are colored in three fundamental hues—black, grey, and white—that are displayed in a range of tones and gradients. Both male and female tonalities are the same. Nonetheless, there is a small difference in color intensity between the young and adults, with the former being lighter and the latter being darker.

The Harpy eagle’s legs can be as thick as a small child’s wrist, and its curved, back talons are about 4 to 5 inches, just the same as a grizzly bear’s claws. Those talons give the Harpy enough power and grip to lift prey up to their own weight. They are considered to be one of the most feared hunters in Brazil.

Like most eagles their females are larger than males. In her prime, an adult female can grab targets weighing up to 20 lbs in flight and carry them without landing. As top predators in their food chain, Harpies feed on sloths, opossums, and monkeys. This eagle is a silent predator that glides across the forest like a stealth drone; despite its wingspan reaching up to 6.5 feet (2 meters). 

Still, it won’t fly long distances to conserve energy and strength to catch and lift small animals weighing 17 pounds. Wandering and stalking its prey is not their game, they simply  sit and patiently wait until the prey comes along. 

The Harpy Eagle’s facial disk feathers are movable, much like an owl’s. By utilizing this technique to focus sound waves into their ears, they can enhance their hearing. They can spot potential food by flying beneath the forest canopy and swooping down to grab it since their eyesight is eight times better than ours. Despite having no natural predators, animals such as jaguars often feed on own juveniles.

They are monogamous and have  a  lifespan of 35 to 45 years, a bonded pair may stay together for 25 to 30 years. Yeah, #couplegoals. Instead of migrating, they stay in one place and establish their territory, preferring areas with tall trees that provide enough food. 

These amazing birds thrive well without human interference. They are disappearing because of habitat disappearance or people shooting them.Unlike most raptors Harp Eagles actually site on a perch and allow people to approach them. Which is unfortunate because they don’t fear humans they are easily killed????.

One fascinating fact is that it’s extremely rare to bump into these amazing birds. They can be found in tropical lowland rainforest through Central to South America but spotting them is a rare treat.In Central America the largest population of this bird is in Panama  closer to the border with Colombia.

Did you know that eagles are generally stronger than vultures?  Harpy pairs reproduce every 2 or 3 years and lay 1 or 2 eggs. The brooding period is approximately 2 months, and the couple works together. 

The Harpy Eagle is recognized as an ecological detective. The presence of this bird indicates that all species in the ecosystem are in total balance. This is their purpose so we should be preserving them not shooting them down! 

The Harpy Eagle is not only the National Bird of Panama. It is also the emblem of the Colombian Air Force, the Ecuadorian symbol of biodiversity, and could be found on the Venezuelan 10 bolivares bills. The Harpy Eagle was the inspiration behind the design of ‘Fawkes,’ the Phoenix in the Harry Potter film series.In Brazila lot of tribes use it as the personification of tribal chiefs, a symbol of eagerness and prowess

The Andean condor has the record for being the largest bird of prey, but the harpy is undoubtedly the heaviest and most powerful of all species. Harpies are excellent energy savers. Never will you witness a harpy eagle soar over a rainforest’s canopy. Instead, the formidable harpy soars beneath the forest canopy, using its enormous talons to catch up to 17 pounds (7.7 kilograms) of monkeys and sloths!

A harpy is capable, in a serious chase, of reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour). It dives down onto its prey and snatches it with outstretched feet. 

The harpy’s short, wide wings enable it to soar nearly straight up, allowing it to strike prey from both above and below. In order to obtain a closer look at its possible prey, the harpy eagle may even turn its head upside down. The bird waits patiently for its next meal, an unsuspecting victim, for hours on end—up to 23!—perched on a tree. It can perceive objects smaller than one inch (2 centimeters) from about two hundred yards (200 meters) afar thanks to its exceptional vision.

Isn’t that all fascinating so next time you over that side of the continent try spot these and share with the world because it’s a rare welcome sight.

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