The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a falconiform bird specie in the Accipitridae family living in the Neotropics and it’s the second largest eagle in the world, but the most powerful and robust. It’s surpassed in size (distance between the ends of the wings) only by the eagle of the Philippines (Pithecophaga Jefferyi). The female’s average size is 100 cms. length, size of 200 cms. and weight of 9 kgs. The male has smaller dimensions up to 196 cms. in size and weighing approximately 8 kgs.
Its plumage is gray on the head; black on the back, upper wings and chest; and white on the underside of the wings and abdomen. The tail is black with three gray bands. It has an erectile crest of feathers on its head. It also has a sharp beak and claws that can reach 15 cms long. It can live even 40 years.
The Harpy Eagle is a predator. It’s favorite prey are climbing mammals such as monkeys, sloths and coatis. It also feeds of reptiles (such as green iguanas, snakes) and birds. Despite its size, it has the ability to penetrate the dense and thick foliage of the jungle to hunt their prey, one of the animals proportionately strongest in the world (up and carried in flight three times its own weight). It prefers to live in dense virgin forests, so the loss of its habitat puts it in endangered extinction species, their morphology is highly adapted to the habitat in which hunting. For this purpose, their wings are proportionally over the trunk not too long (allowing it to fly swiftly into the dense canopies of trees).
The harpy eagle is the Panama’s national bird. The Act was registered as No. 18 of April 10, 2002 in Official Gazette No. 24,530, with four items, setting the third items fines up to five thousand dollars (B /. 5,000.00) for those who capture, traffic, cause injury or death of adult Harpy Eagles, offspring, eggs or nests. It is protected by institutions such as ANCON, ANAM, The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (...), “Patronato Amigos del Águila Harpía”, among others.