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The Harpy Eagle Is a Huge, Powerful Hunter

These tropical eagles are amazing to behold
© Joachim S Muller CC View Large

Harpy Eagles spend their lives in tall, remote tropical forests in Central and South America, flying from tree to tree in search of food. The eagles are named for the Harpies of Greek mythology, women with the bodies of birds who, on Zeus’s command, snatched people from the earth.

Since it takes many months for a nestling to mature, Harpy Eagles raise a youngster just once every two or three years.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

Harpy Eagle

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

(Harpy Eagle, male song, https://www.xeno-canto.org/20069, 0.05-.11]

If there is a single bird that captures the imagination of birders it may be the Harpy Eagle.

Harpy Eagles are huge, powerful hunters that spend their lives in tall, remote tropical forests in Central and South America. Named for the Harpies of Greek mythology, gruesome women with the bodies of birds, these eagles fly from tree to tree in search of food, rarely venturing into the open sky above.

(Harpy Eagle call, https://www.xeno-canto.org/384930, 0.00-.07)

Feathered in varying shades of gray with a white belly, the Harpy has a strong hooked beak, and distinctive tall feathers that stand out straight from its head.

Harpy Eagles are massive. Females, larger than males, are three and a half feet long and weigh up to 20 pounds. That’s heavier than the largest Bald Eagle. Their rear talons measure a full five inches, ideal for plucking sloths and monkeys from the trees.

Harpy Eagles may not be the Hounds of Zeus, but they are legendary in their own right. However, human persecution and ongoing cutting of forest are threatening these eagles, who raise just one nestling every two or three years.

So each one is precious — and spectacular.

(Harpy Eagle, male song, https://www.xeno-canto.org/20069, 0.05-.11]

For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.

###
Bird sounds provided by Xeno-canto. Recorded by David Edwards and Dušan M. Brinkhuizen.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Managing Producer: Jason Saul
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
© 2018 Tune In to Nature.org   August 2018   Narrator: Michael Stein
 
ID# HARHAR-01-2018-08-07    HARHAR-01

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