Harpy Eagle: All Facts & Information at One Place!

Species:H. harpyja
Harpy eagle
Harpy eagle portrait

The Harpy Eagle is one of the biggest and strongest birds of prey. It lives in the Neotropical region. The species is monotypic, which means that there are no subspecies. It has other names, such as the Brazilian harpy eagle or the American harpy eagle. The IUCN writes that this species is “Near Threatened” status, which means that we need to do a lot of work to keep this beautiful bird of prey from going extinct.

What is the scientific name of a Harpy Eagle?

Its scientific name is Harpia harpyja. It is in the group of birds namely Accipitriformes and is a Harpia.

What does a Harpy Eagle look like?

The Harpy Eagle is a dangerous predator because it has a big body, strong tarsi, and a strong bill. Even though the feathers on both sexes look the same, they are different sizes. The females are bigger than the males. Long feathers on their heads make up the crest, which is split into two parts, one on each side of the head. The head and neck are light greys, while the wings’ back, rump, and upper surface are blackish or dark grey.

A wide black band across the upper breast separates the grey head from the white belly. On the blacktop of the tail, there are three wide bands of ashy grey colour. It has a big, curved beak. In terms of bare parts, it has a black bill, a blackish or black cere, yellow toes and tarsi, and a brown or grey iris.


The harpe eagle chicks are altricial, which means they need care from their parents to live and grow. It has dirty white down feathers all over its body. After almost 45 days, the young hatchlings start to get remiges. At 54 days old, feathers can be seen on the back, scapulars, upper wing coverts, sides of the head, and crown of the head. At 77 days, the cervix starts to show itself.

Harpy Eagle Wingspan and weight

So, how big is a harpy eagle? One of the biggest, heaviest, and scariest birds in the world is the Harpy Eagle. Even though males are smaller than females, researchers do not calculate size on the basis of gender. The length of the body is between 86.5 and 107 cm, and the wingspan is between 183-224 cm. The Harpy eagle has the fourth-largest wingspan of all the eagles.

How much does a Harpy Eagle weigh? The weight of a male and a female Harpy eagle is different. Since females are bigger, they have more mass than males. A female Harpy eagle weighs between 7600 and 9000 grammes, while a male weighs between 4000 and 4800 grammes. This means that females weigh almost twice as much as males. Aside from this, some studies indicate that females can weigh more than 10,000 grammes.

What is the most weight a Harpy Eagle can carry? With its strong talons and legs, a Harpy eagle can lift things that are much heavier than it is. The Harpy eagle can lift up to 9 kg, which is equal to or sometimes more than its own body weight. This means that they can also easily pick up a small child. Because they are so strong, these eagles can eat sloths, small monkeys, and vertebrates that live in trees.

Harpy Eagle size?

Harpy eagle
Harpy eagle

Let’s talk about the harpy eagle size. Harpy eagles have the biggest talons of any living eagle because they are one of the strongest eagles in the world. These claws are so big that they can pick up prey that weighs as much as they do. The back claws are about 3 to 4 inches long, which is the same length as grizzly bear claws. The harpy eagle’s talons can apply several pounds of force to kill its prey instantly by breaking its bones.


How fast are Harpy Eagles?

At 80 km per hour, a harpy eagle can chase down its prey (50 miles per hour). The bird of prey swoops down on its victim and crushes its bones with its sharp claws. The Harpy’s wings are short and wide, which lets it fly quickly in any direction. Usually, it sits on a branch and waits for its prey, which it then attacks quickly.

Are Harpy Eagles aggressive or friendly?

Well! You can’t really say that a harpy eagle is friendly. But the species is also not very aggressive. This is a wild animal that does what comes naturally to it. If you don’t bother the Harpy, it won’t attack you. But while protecting babies, they are not afraid to attack. Also, they are definitely not thought of as good pets.

How long do Harpy Eagles live?

The average life span of a harpy is 25–35 years. They only have one partner, so they stay together for life. Also, they are the top predators, which means that almost nothing can eat them. Even though they live so long, their numbers are going down.

This is mostly because of how they have babies and how humans hunt them. Every two to three years, the Harpy mother lays one or two eggs. At the same time, humans who hunt them and shoot them for fun shorten their natural lifespan by a lot. These two things are a big reason why they are Near Threatened.

Are Harpy Eagles endangered?

The Harpy eagle is one of the species that are “near threatened.” Even though the species doesn’t have any natural enemies, the number of them is still going down. This is mostly because of things that people do, like cutting down trees and hunting for fun. A pair of harpies need an area of about 100 km2 to live in. Even though some studies say less than 50,000 of them are left in the wild, no one knows for sure. This bird is so rare that not much is known about it.

What does a Harpy Eagle eat?

The Harpy is the top predator and lives at the top of the food chain. It eats mostly mammals of medium size. But they also try their luck with other animals, like birds and reptiles. They eat many tree-dwelling mammals, like the howler, titi, capuchin, woolly, saki, squirrels, two and three-toed sloths, opossum, porcupine, olingo, kinkajou, and more. In the same way, they also eat some large birds like curassows and macaws. Iguanas and snakes eat other reptiles, which are also reptiles.

Harpy eagle reproduction

Are Harpy Eagles monogamous? Harpy eagles are thought to be monogamous, which means they stick with one partner for life. They can live for about 25–35 years and are very protective of their young and eggs. They make nests at the top of trees, where the mother will lay one or two eggs at a time.

Also, they only have babies every two to three years. Both partners are responsible for taking care of the eggs, but the female has more of a role than the male. So, where do harpy eagles live? The Harpy builds its nest in the tallest trees in the forest. The branch tips help them find the highest point on the tree trunks. This means that their nests are usually about 40 metres, or 130 feet, off the ground.

Once they choose a place to build their nest, they start making it. Nests are big and made of branches and sticks with softer materials. The Brazil nut tree, the Cambara tree, and the Kapok tree are all trees that birds use to make nests. The harpy couple will keep using the same nest for many years.

Harpy eagle eggs

Harpy eagles only have one partner, so they only have one or two eggs every two or three years. This is one reason why the Harpy is more likely to become extinct. What do Harpy Eagle eggs look like?

The eggs of the Harpy Eagle are white and with a pear shape. They lay the eggs in a deep, wide nest on the top of a tree. Moreover, they use the nest over and over again for many years. The average length of an egg is 75 mm, and the average width is 57 mm. They lay 1-2 eggs per clutch. They raise only one chick from an egg. While the second egg is just in case the first one fails. If both eggs hatch, the bird pulls one of them out of the nest.

What does a Harpy Eagle sound like?

The rainbow Harpy eagle usually doesn’t make noise away from its nest. When the female is incubating eggs in the nest, the male makes a “wheeeee…wheeeee…wheeeee” sound. The female bird responds in a similar way but with a different pitch. As he gets close to the nest, the male screams loudly to let the young birds know that their father is coming home.

Harpy eagle habitat

Where can you find a Harpy Eagle? The Harpy lives in the rain forests of South and Central America. They need a big area to live in, so they like to live in big forests that aren’t cut up. Moreover, they spend most of their time in the canopy of the forest, and they rarely fly over the canopy in open spaces. They build their nests and have their babies in the same top part of trees.

What does the Harpy Eagle live in? Harpy eagles live in the large forests of South and Central America that go on for miles. They can be seen on top of the forest canopy but rarely fly over it.

Where can I see Harpy Eagles?

So, where are harpy eagles found? Because it lives in the dense forest canopy, it’s hard to find this mighty eagle in its natural environment. Since it doesn’t fly over the forest canopy very often, it’s harder to spot. But you can see this strong eagle in many zoos, such as the San Diego Zoo, the Fort Worth Zoo, the Oklahoma City Zoo, the Jacksonville Zoo, the Los Angeles Zoo, the Zoo Miami, and so on.

Do Harpy Eagles travel around? No, Harpy eagles don’t move around. They have their own territories in large, unbroken forests that can be up to 100 km2 in size. They hunt and raise their young in this huge area.

FAQs: Harpy Eagle

Harpy eagle
Harpy eagle with wings open

How rare is a harpy eagle?

The harpy eagle is critically endangered in Mexico and Central America, where most of its habitat is in ruins. It used to live as far north as Veracruz in Mexico, but now it probably only lives in Chiapas in the Selva Zoque.

Is the Harpy the biggest eagle?

The harpy eagle is the biggest living eagle, and its claws are bigger than those of a Grizzly bear.

What kills harpy eagle?

The main things that could kill Harpy Eagles are cutting down trees and shooting them.

Can a harpy eagle pick up a human?

Eagles know that people can be dangerous, but they are more afraid of how much bigger people are than they are. Because of this, eagles never try to pick up a person. They would have to have strength from another planet to lift a normal person, who weighs about 150 pounds.

What eats a harpy eagle?

What do harpy eagles eat? Dangers and Dangerous Things. As was already said, these eagles are at the top of the food chain, along with jaguars and anacondas, so they don’t really get eaten. Unfortunately, they are in danger because people hunt them and shoot them for fun.

Can you buy a harpy eagle?

Most people think that carnivorous birds, like the harpy eagle, don’t make good pets. Most carnivorous birds in the United States are protected by federal law and shouldn’t be kept as pets, especially those on the endangered list.

Which is bigger Harpy or Philippine Eagle?

So, how tall is a harpy eagle? The harpy eagle size is great. The Harpy Eagle might be the biggest in size or weight, but the Philippine Eagle has the biggest wingspan and is the tallest.

Do harpy eagles eat sloths?

The harpy eagle is an apex predator that eats meat. It mostly eats mammals that live in trees, like sloths, monkeys, and opossums. They sometimes eat other birds, such as macaws, and reptiles, such as iguanas.

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