Fun Harpy Eagle Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 28, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Discover harpy eagle facts about this bird from the Animalia kingdom.

If you are not aware of this apex predator which tops the food chain alongside anacondas and jaguars, you have come to the right place. The American harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) shares the top spot with the above two predators and is a truly powerful bird.

This deadly bird is classified under Aves in the Animalia kingdom and is known for its fierce appearance and aggressive ways in which it hunts and preys on other animals. Being a bird, it is capable of killing tree-dwelling mammals like sloths, monkeys, and opossums along with snakes and lizards.

The bird lays two white eggs every two to three years when it breeds and raises only one chick out of the two eggs.

The first egg is taken care of by the mother while the second egg is not.

The species is classified as Near Threatened due to a loss of habitat and logging of the rainforest by humans. They build their nests in the tallest trees which makes them special and unique in their own way.

Learn more about harpy eagles here, and you can also read some facts about the tawny eagle and crowned eagle here!

Harpy Eagle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a harpy eagle?

Falling under the class Aves and genus Harpia, all species of harpy eagles are birds. Known by many by its scientific name, Harpia harpyja, the harpy eagle is a neotropical species of the eagle.

To distinguish them from Papuan eagles, they are also often called American harpy eagles. They are carnivores who hunt other mammals like sloths and monkeys, as well as some reptiles and other birds.

What class of animal does a harpy eagle belong to?

As harpy eagles can fly and are birds, they fall under the class of Aves under the Animalia kingdom. They are the top predator and are on the top of many food chains. They generally hunt mammals, reptiles, and birds.

How many harpy eagles are there in the world?

This bird species of eagles have been endangered for a while, and a healthy population of harpy eagles depends on the population of other animals and birds that it is dependent on for food.

The exact number is unknown, but when they last counted in 2009, they were somewhere between 20,000 to 50,000 harpy eagles found. The species is classified as Near Threatened due to its loss of natural habitat through the actions of human beings.

There are estimated to be around 5,000 harpy eagles in the Amazon alone today.

Where does a harpy eagle live?

Harpy eagles are mainly found in South American countries like Ecuador, Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Suriname, Peru, French Guiana, and Northeast Argentina. Harpy eagles are also found in parts of Mexico and Central America, though the population of apex predators is very low in these areas.

What is a harpy eagle's habitat?

The natural habitat of harpy eagles is known to be rainforests in South America and Central America. The species is completely dependent on other animals and birds for food and they mostly live in long continuous forests and are seen spending most of their time in the forest canopy.

It is pretty rare to see them flying over the canopy of the forest in open areas.

Who do harpy eagles live with?

Harpy eagles are a neotropical species that live in the rainforests of South and Central America. This species of eagles is generally seen in groups and they protect their territory and fellow harpy eagles from other species of eagles.

They work together to ensure that they have a consistent source of food in a particular area. Harpy eagles pair up to mate and nest in the same territory for a lifetime.

How long does a harpy eagle live?

Harpy eagles are considered the top predators and are at the top of the food chain. They live in the forest canopies of long rainforests and hunt monkeys, sloths, iguanas, as well as other birds for food.

They generally live for between 25-35 years on average but this time span may differ based on their living conditions, the availability of food, and the risks posed by an improper natural habitat.

How do they reproduce?

Harpy eagles form pairs for breeding which last for life. Each pair does everything together, including building nests very high (90 ft or more) above the ground.

The pair will chirp each other and rub their bills against each other before leaving the nest, and all of this helps the pair build a great bond between themselves and allows them to mate for life together.

The pair will mate multiple times over a period of few days during the mating phase.

The breeding season begins with the rainy season in April or May and the nests built for breeding are big and very high up from the ground so that they can be used for the future.

The female lays two eggs but will only raise one child, the egg is incubated for around 56 days and the chick is completely taken care of by the parents for six to seven months (or less than 10 months). A harpy eagle does not become fully mature until the age of five or six years.

Most harpy eagles return to their original nesting location to breed and harpy eagles tend to breed once every two or three years.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of harpy eagles is currently listed as Near Threatened. Harpy eagles have been endangered for a long time, when their population worldwide was between 20,000 and 50,000 back in 2009.

This national bird of Panama is already extinct in various areas and is nearly extinct in Mexico and parts of America too due to the logging of rainforests in these locations. The spread of this eagle species is observed from Mexico to Northern Argentina with the population of this top predator sadly decreasing regularly.

Harpy Eagle Fun Facts

What do harpy eagles look like?

Harpy eagles are fierce birds that can hunt mammals and reptiles, as well as hunting other birds.

They are typically 40 in (99 cm) in length and harpy eagles tend to reach a height of 36-40 in (90-100 cm). This Panama national bird has gray feathers with a white underside.

A fan of gray feather crowns, a harpy eagle's head, and plumage are identical in males and females.

The talon of a harpy eagle can be as long as 5 in (12.7 cm) and a harpy eagle claw can cause serious damage to its prey. The bird is often a combination of black, gray, and white colors and there are claims that a rainbow harpy eagle exists but no proof has been found to date.

The albino harpy eagle species is very famous amongst eagle species and is also known as the white harpy eagle because of its white color.

The harpy eagle is a striking bird.

How cute are they?

Harpy eagles are not friendly and can be aggressive. The fierce look, dangerous facial disk, and sharp feet and talons of this national bird of Panama give it a deadly and aggressive look rather than a cute one. They have bold beaks and sharp, dangerous harpy eagle feet.

How do they communicate?

Harpy eagles communicate using actions and vocals as well as tactile communication. They can be seen rubbing their bills against each other in order to bond with their partner and they often communicate with each other in a vocalized manner in the form of screech or chirp sounds.

How big is a harpy eagle?

Harpy eagles are one of the biggest species of eagles living on the planet. They can go up to 40 in (100 cm) in height and length and can have a wingspan of 78 in (2 m) wide.

They are huge birds and are of immense size and weight when compared to other birds. For example, a pigeon is 1/4 of a harpy eagle in terms of height and weight and 30 times smaller in terms of weight.

How fast can a harpy eagle fly?

Despite weighing so much and having a huge body, the harpy eagle still manages to fly at 50 mph (80 kmph). This is faster than a lot of other birds and mammals in rainforests so the speed of the harpy eagle helps it prey on mammals and birds.

How much does a harpy eagle weigh?

The weight of the average harpy eagle is between 8-19 lb (4-9 kg). The weight of a harpy eagle depends on its natural habitat and the availability of prey. The heaviest harpy eagle in records weighed approximately 20 lb (10 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

The scientific name of harpy eagles is Harpia harpyja and there are no particular scientific names for male and female harpy eagles.

What would you call a baby harpy eagle?

A harpy eagle baby does not have a specific name. It is often called a hatchling or a chick just like many other birds.

What do they eat?

This predator feeds on other birds, reptiles, and mammals for food. Harpy eagle hunting includes hunting iguanas, snakes, mammals like sloths, opossums, monkeys, and curassows. The harpy eagle's ability to kill monkeys and sloths makes them apex predators.

How high can they fly?

A harpy eagle nest is generally built at a height of 90 ft (27 m) or more above the ground.

Would they make a good pet?

This Panama national bird doesn't make a good pet.

Did you know...

Harpy eagles are the rainforest's largest and most powerful raptors. Harpy eagle wings can extend up to 78 in (2 m) when opened wide and harpy eagles tend to prey on larger and bigger animals as well as big monkeys. A harpy eagle might even steal meat, chicken, lamb from shops in rare scenarios!

The harpy eagle size is the biggest amongst lots of birds of prey.

The Argentinian harpy eagle wingspan can open up to 78 in (2 m) and a harpy eagle talon can be up to 5 in (12.7 cm) long. A typical harpy eagle height is 40 in (99 cm) and a giant harpy eagle is capable of killing a big monkey or even a sloth!

Their talons are as powerful as the claws of a bear and a female harpy eagle can weigh twice as a male harpy eagle sometimes.

Harpy eagles are the apex predators of their locations and territories and hunt mammals, reptiles, and other birds. The nests built by the adult harpy eagle can't be searched by human beings due to their height and the protection offered by the dense forest canopy.

How dangerous is a harpy eagle?

The harpy eagle is an apex predator with supernatural eyesight and powerful beak and claws and the ability to fly at a speed of 50 mph (80 kmph) which makes it a deadly bird.

Falling under the Aves class, this species tops the food chain and can easily kill big monkeys and sloths for food.

Hypothetically, the species can even kill humans if it strikes with full force at its top speed. Harpy eagle claws are as powerful as a grizzly bear's claws and can easily exert a pressure of 110 lb (50 kg) in order to kill its prey.

Harpy eagles are considered one of the most powerful eagles in the world, and one of the best harpy eagle facts for kids is that in a harpy eagle vs bald eagle confrontation, the harpy eagle would be expected to win.

What eats the harpy eagle?

The harpy eagle's position in the food chain is firmly at the top. One of the most interesting facts about the harpy eagle is that when the species dies, its flesh is likely to be eaten by a jaguar or anaconda. It is later decomposed by bacteria.

Can a harpy eagle kill a human?

A harpy eagle attack on a human being can be of great impact, and hypothetically the harpy eagle is capable of killing a human being.

At Kidadl, we have created lots of interesting animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn about other birds including the great green macaw, or the southern cassowary.

You can occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our harpy eagle coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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