Wow, now that’s a big bird! That’s the way most people react when they see a harpy eagle for the first time, whether in person or in a picture. The massive bird is, well, absolutely massive. Fierce. Proud. Majestic. Larger than life. With a steely glint in its eyes that practically says, “You’d better not mess with me, kiddo, I eat folks like you for breakfast.”
The harpy eagle is so peculiar that from one angle, it seems a bit like a person cosplaying a bird straight from the Uncanny Valley. From another, it looks like a Pokemon (please tell me that you see it too). While from a third, it looks like something that might have been kept in a secure cage somewhere in Area 51, after crash-landing in an alien spacecraft that was heading to Earth from Blargon-7.
The harpy eagle is a bird of prey that lives in the rainforest, and it is huge
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Image credits: birds.nature
Harpy eagles are popular on the internet. For example, one compilation photo of the harpy eagle got over 91,600 upvotes in less than 20 hours on Reddit. While the same picture got more than 120,000 views on Imgur in a similar time-frame.
Some people think that harpy eagles look like people wearing a bird costume
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Now, harpy eagles aren’t to be taken lightly. They are, after all, birds of prey. There are two kinds of harpy eagles: the American and the Papuan types.
Harpy eagles look incredibly serious and goofy at the same time
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Harpy eagles are the largest, most powerful raptors to be found in rainforests around the globe. What’s more, they are among the very largest species of eagles on planet Earth. Their wingspan can reach up to 7 feet and 4 inches (224 centimeters), but they weigh only 8.5-20 pounds (3.8-9 kilograms).
The bird has a very peculiar face
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Image credits: Colin Hepburn
Harpy eagles usually live in the upper canopy layer of tropical lowland forests. Unfortunately, due to the destruction of its habitat, it’s nearly eradicated in Central America. There are fewer than 50,000 of them left worldwide. In Brazil, the harpy eagle is also known by another name (which might be even cooler): the royal-hawk.
The eagle’s talons are nothing to laugh at
Image credits: Judie Custer
According to Fact Zoo, harpy eagles eat larger prey than smaller birds: “Monkeys, tree porcupines, sloths, coatis, birds, snakes, lizards, etc.” We’re just glad that ‘people’ aren’t on that list!