Harpy Eagle

Harpia harpyja

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Linnaea Mallette

Harpy eagles are a bird of prey found throughout South America. Their large talons make them perfect avian predators, preying upon monkeys, sloths and other small mammals that live in dense forests. Their decreasing population is thought to number between 100,000 and 200,000, threatened by habitat loss and deforestation.

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Distribution:

Found throughout South America, this species ranges as far north as Mexico and down into paraguay. However, most of its range covers the amazon rainforest where it can be seen flying above the canopy looking for its next meal.

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Habitat:

The Harpy eagle spends most of its time in dense forests, nesting and living amongst the tall trees. Occationally it can be seen hunting above Savanna grasslands on clear days. However studies have shown that this behvaiour could be a new one, due to deforestation removing areas they would have hunted in naturally.

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Diet:

This large predator can takle almost all available prey, hunting primates, sloth's, armadillos, porcupines, agouties, deer, as well as some large bird species. This wide range of prey is likely enabling the species to do well in a changing and fragmenting habitat.

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Threats:

The primary threat to the harpy eagle is habitat loss and deforestation. As logging activity increases in the amazon, the available nesting sites for the species are disapearing. Additionally, this species is often hunted or shot by loggers who can sell the birds feathers.

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Conservation status:

Harpy eagles are classified as vunerable to extinction, their population still covering a wide area but decreasing in reccent years. This wide distribution offers hope that it could survive into the future, but logging and persection are threatening this species existence.