Harpy Eagles are recognized as one of the world’s largest and most powerful species of eagles. Their hind talons are reputed to be the same size as a grizzly bear’s claws. These eagles are most at home in tropical forests like those found in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
Their size is measured at about 35 to 41 inches in terms of body length and six and half-foot in terms of wingspan. An average Harpy Eagle can weigh as much as 10 to 20 pounds, but a female can weigh twice as much. However, the weight of the prey which a Harpy can carry-off to its lair is limited to half of its own body weight.
Their preys are mostly tree-dwelling animals such as monkeys, sloths, opossums, birds and snakes. However, they often have to use their skills in maneuvering their flight since they have to pursue their prey through the trees.
Harpy Eagles build their nests in the emergent layers of the forest and ordinarily lay only one to two eggs. Curiously, only one of the two eggs is desired by a Harpy mother. This means that if one has hatched, the mother ignores the second egg and gives it no further support to complete its hatching process.
The name Harpy was derived from the mythical Greek figures called "harpies", which are winged creatures with a vulture’s body, sharp claws and a woman's face.
The Earth’s rainforest cover has decreased from 14 percent down to a remaining 6 percent where millions of the world’s animal population can be found. About half of the original tropical rainforests, which are in the Latin American and Southeast Asian regions, have been destroyed. The other half, which is found along the equator, still face great danger from mankind’s increasing activities.
As the sizes of these forests are reduced through man’s relentless exploitation, so are the numbers of animals which live in rainforest environments.