• Harpy Eagles are among the world’s largest and most powerful eagles.
  • Their rear talons are about 3-4 inches long, the same size as a grizzly bear’s claws.
  • Harpy Eagles continue to bring fresh green twigs and branches to the nest after the chick has hatched.
  • This helps to keep insects and parasites away and provides a cooler environment for nesting.
  • A female can weigh up to two times more than a male eagle.
  • Deforestation and shooting are the two main threats to the survival of Harpy Eagles.
  • Harpy Eagle is legendary although few people have seen it.
  • These great birds are named after harpies, the predatory frightful flying creatures with hooked beaks and claws.
  • This dark gray bird of prey has a very distinctive look, with feathers the bold crest.
  • The harpy eagle’s legs can be as thick as a small child’s wrist, its curved back talons are larger than grizzly bear claws at 5 inches long.
  • The harpy eagle may not be the largest but this extraordinary creature is definitely the heaviest and powerful bird.
  • harpy eagle.jpg



  1. Harpy eagles can eat mammals and reptiles.
  2. Harpy eagles tend to eat bigger species of monkeys.
  3. A harpy eagle has the largest talons of any eagle species.
  4. Female harpy eagles are the ones who take on heavier prey.
  5. Harpy eagles tend to focus on one chick at a time.
harpy eagle closeup.jpg




  • Despite their wingspan which can reach up to  6.5 feet across, harpies fly through their forest home with great agility.
  • For nesting, harpies favor silk cotton trees and usually build nests 90 to 140 feet above the ground.
  • They like to use trees with widely spaced branches for a clear flight path to and from the nest.
  • Harpies use large sticks to create the nest’s huge frame and line it with softer greens, seedpods, and animal fur to make it comfortable.
  • A harpy nest measures about 4 feet thick and 5 feet across, large enough for a person to lie across.
  • Once built, an eagle pair may reuse and remodel the same nest for many years.
  • The strong, silent type, harpy eagles do not vocalize much, when heard they wail, croak, whistle, click, and mew.
  • Harpies are great at saving precious energy, they always fly below the forest canopy and use their great talons to snatch its outstretched  feet.
  • A harpy is capable of the serious chase of reaching speeds of 50 miles per hour. 
  • It dives down onto its prey and snatches it with outstretched feet.
  • Its short broad wings help the eagle fly almost straight up it can attack prey from below as well as above.
  • The harpy eagle can turn its head upside down to get a better look at its potential meal.
  • The bird perches silently for hours up to 23 in a tree to catch the suspecting prey.
  • It has excellent vision and can see something less than 1inch in size from almost 220 yards away.
  • The deadly talons of a harpy eagle can exert several pounds of pressure, crushing the bones of its prey and instantly killing its victim.
  • A harpy also feeds on young deer, snakes, etc.
  • The larger females tend to take sloths and monkeys, the smaller more agile faster males tend to take more quantities of smaller food items.
harpy eagle nest.jpg



  • The mother lays one or two eggs in a clutch and produces them every two to three years.
  • Both parents incubate eggs with the female taking most of the responsibility.
  • The first egg to hatch gets all the attention and is more likely to survive, while other egg dies from lack of incubation.
  • The second acts as an insurance policy in case there is something wrong with the first egg.
  • The newly hatched chick is all white and doesn’t attain its full adult coloring until it is in the third year.
  • Both parents feed the chick for about 10 months.
  • Harpy eagle chicks are ready to fledge at about 5 to 6 months of age but usually hang around the nest for over a year, begging a meal from their parents.
  • Harpies can breed from 5 to 30 years of age and beyond.


  • Each harpy eagle pair needs several square miles of undisturbed forest to thrive.
  • These eagles are non-migratory, they hunt their established range continuously.
  • Years of logging, destruction of nesting sites, and poaching have eliminated this bird from much of its former range, especially the northern part.



Tags: birds

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