Wow, that’s a giant bird! That’s how most people react the moment they see a harpy for the first time in full armour, whether it’s in real life or in a picture online or in a book. The gigantic bird is real, and really is gigantic. Powerful, proud and majestic, it also seems to have the right to decide on life and death.
With a steely hard look in his eyes, he gives you the idea that you might be the next victim on his menu. It is therefore not surprising that he appears in Homer’s ancient Greek poetry on Greek mythology.
There are people who are scared of the harpy, because they think they are being spied on by some ‘weird man’ in a bird suit. The bird of prey is of such a huge size that it really looks like a person who has made extra effort to find an alternative costume for Halloween. On the other hand, it’s more like a Pokémon (you can see what we mean, can’t you?). Or with a bit of imagination, a beast that was held in a secure cage in Area 51 for years after it was discovered in a crashed alien spacecraft on its way to Earth from Blargon-7. Despite all these comparisons, it really is a bird.
The harpy eagle is becoming a hit online. The photo above got over 91,000 up-votes on Reddit within 20 hours. The same image was also viewed 120,000 times in the same time on Imgur.
The harpy lives mainly in the treetops of the forest giants, in lower tropical forests. Its habitat extends over most of the Amazon rainforest in South America, but also further north to southern Mexico. Unfortunately, due to deforestation of its habitat, there is less and less space for the animal and it is already almost extinct in Central America. It is estimated that there are only 50,000 specimens left around the world. What makes this eagle species special is that they stay with the same partner their whole life and the female is as much as a third bigger than the male.
The harpy also has another (and actually much nicer) name in Brazil because of its impressive stature: the king hawk. According to the Fact Zoo, the harpy eats much larger prey than most smaller birds of prey. Luckily, we as humans are not included in this. Its strong claws with long nails give it the opportunity to grab the prey, pin it to the tree and pull it apart. They particularly like to eat birds, snakes and lizards, and now and then, sloths, porcupines or even monkeys and small bears. They clearly live up to their name of king hawk, reigning over the rainforest with its icy stare. And we can be glad that we do not appear in the list of what they eat!