Welcome to another animal of the week in today’s episode. We will learn about the harpy eagle, an animal that resembles what I think squid would would look like if he were a bird. These birds of prey live in the top half of South America and all over Central America.
From this range, you can obviously see that they inhabit tropical rainforests. You may think that it would be very hard for a harpy eagle to fly in these densely forested areas with their 2 meter wingspan.
They have a surprising amount of agility in these areas. Harpy eagles have a very interesting hunting technique where they snatch animals, such as monkeys and sloths off the sides of trees and rarely hunt anything that is on the ground.
However, it will sometimes eat ground running creatures such as deer, opossums and porcupines, when it can harpy eagles, are monogamous and have good parental instincts staying with their young through all stages of development up until they are around one year old.
The female lays two eggs in its large nest in the forest canopy, but only one egg will ever hatch the first one to hatch will be nurtured and cared for, while the other dies due to lack of incubation.
The second egg was never meant to hatch and is simply insurance in case. The first fails. The baby is fed and nurtured for around ten months. Then the parents will slowly give it less and less food forcing the now mature eagle to leave the nest harpy eagles.
A great flies they have to be able to maneuver in the dense rainforest, something that helps them is the relatively small wingspan, though it is around two meters long. This is rather small for a bird of its size and many Eagles smaller than it have longer wing spans due to them living in more open environments, a harpy eagles talons of the power to crush bones.
They can insert around 50 kilograms of force easily enough to cripple a sloth or a monkey harpy eagles, despite being enormous predators, have been known to be preyed on by Jaguars and ocelots, though it isn’t that common.
These amazing birds are also under threat from everyone’s. Favorite destructive animal humans, deforestation by humans has led to harpy eagles becoming extremely rare in Central America and increasingly further south harpy eagles also face threats from hunters, shooting them for sport.
The IUCN Red List classes them as near threatened due to the clear decrease in population and they are predicted to decrease even more with the continued loss of habitat. None of this is helped by the fact that harpy eagles only produce one offspring every two to three years, so the future of these birds is uncertain.
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