The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a neotropical species of eagle. It is also called the American harpy eagle to distinguish it from the Papuan eagle, which is sometimes known as the New Guinea harpy eagle. It is the largest and most powerful raptor found in the rainforest, and among the largest extant species of eagles in the world.
Harpy adults are at the top of a food chain. Along with sloth, monkeys such as tufted capuchin, are one of main prey of harpy eagle.Monkeys regularly taken can include capuchin monkeys, saki monkeys, howler monkeys, titi monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and spider monkeys. Smaller monkeys, such as tamarins and marmosets, are seemingly ignored as prey by this species. The eagle may also attack bird species such as macaws. Other parrots have also been preyed on, as well as cracids such as curassows and other birds like seriemas. Additional prey items reported include reptiles such as iguanas, tegus, and snakes.The eagle has been recorded as taking domestic livestock, including chickens, lambs, goats, and young pigs, but this is extremely rare under normal circumstances.
Strength Males usually take relatively smaller prey, with a typical range of 0.5 to 2.5 kg or about half their own weight. The larger females take larger prey, with a minimum recorded prey weight of around 2.7 kg. Adult female harpies regularly grab large male howler or spider monkeys or mature sloths weighing 6 to 9 kg in flight and fly off without landing, an enormous feat of strength.
NestThe female harpy eagle lays two white eggs in a large stick nest, which commonly measures 1.2 m deep and 1.5 m across and may be used over several years. Nests are located high up in a tree, usually in the main fork, at 16 to 43 m, depending on the stature of the local trees. The harpy often builds its nest in the crown of the kapok tree, one of the tallest trees in South America. The bird also uses other huge trees on which to build its nest, such as the Brazil nut tree.
BreedNo display is known between pairs of eagles, and they are believed to mate for life. A pair of harpy eagles usually only raises one chick every 2–3 years. After the first chick hatches, the second egg is ignored and normally fails to hatch unless the first egg perishes. The egg is incubated around 56 days. When the chick is 36 days old, it can stand and walk awkwardly. The chick fledges at the age of 6 months, but the parents continue to feed it for another 6 to 10 months. The male captures much of the food for the incubating female and later the eaglet, but also takes an incubating shift while the female forages and also brings prey back to the nest. Breeding maturity is not reached until birds are 4 to 6 years of age. Adults can be aggressive toward humans who disturb the nesting site or appear to be a threat to its young.
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