Harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja) are large, carnivorous birds of the rain forest. They are among the larger eagle species, and their diet reflects that. Harpy eagles are apex predators -- they're threatened by no creatures other than humans. Their diet consists primarily of tree-dwelling animals.
Harpy eagles typically prey on mammals living in the trees of the rain forest. Monkeys and sloths are primary targets. They eat macaws and other large birds, as well. Harpy eagles consume reptiles such as iguanas. The harpy habitat used to range throughout Central America and South America but is greatly diminished. Rainforest logging and agriculture has cut back on both breeding grounds and prey habitat.
Harpy Eagle Conformation
Harpy females are larger than males, typically by several pounds. As such, the females prey on larger animals and the males on smaller. Because these eagles spend most of their time within the canopy layer of the rain forest, they have short wingspans. The canopy is densely forested, so narrow wingspans allows harpy eagles to hunt more easily.
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Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.