Up Close With The Harpy Eagle
Best if viewed large. The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), sometimes known as the American Harpy Eagle, is a Neotropical species of eagle. It is the largest and most powerful raptor found in the Americas, and among the largest extant species of eagles in the world. It usually inhabits tropical lowland rainforests in the upper (emergent) canopy layer. Destruction of its natural habitat has seen it vanish from many parts of its former range, and it is almost extinct in Central America.
Female Harpy Eagles typically weigh 6 to 9 kg (13 to 20 lb). One exceptionally large captive female, "Jezebel", weighed 12.3 kg (27 lb). Being captive, this large female may not be representative of the weight possible in wild Harpy Eagles due to differences in the food availability. The male, in comparison, weighs only about 4 to 4.8 kg (8.8 to 11 lb).The wings are relatively short and stubby, the female wing length measuring 58.3–62.6 cm, and the male wing length 54.3–58 cm. Harpy Eagles are 89–105 cm (2.92–3.44 ft) long and have a wingspan of 176 to 201 cm (5 ft 9 in to 6 ft 7 in). Among extant eagles, only the Philippine Eagle and the Steller's Sea Eagle approach similar dimensions, although the wingspan of the Harpy Eagle is relatively small (an adaptation that increases maneuverability in forested habitats and is shared by other raptors in similar habitats) and is surpassed by several large eagles who live in more open habitats, such as the Haliaeetus and Aquila eagles. The extinct Haast's Eagle was significantly larger than all extant eagles, including the Harpy.
 Distribution and habitatRare throughout its range, the Harpy Eagle is found from Mexico, through Central America and into South America to Argentina. In Central America the species is almost extinct, subsequent to the loss of much of the rainforest there. In rainforests they live from the canopy to the emergent. Within the rainforest they hunt in the canopy or sometimes on the ground, and perch on emergent trees looking for prey.