The Harpy - Wanted Poster


Surname: Harpy
Latin name: Harpia harpyja
class: Birds
size: 85 - 100cm
mass: up to 10kg
Older: 20 - 40 years
Appearance: dark gray to black plumage, white plumage on the belly
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Carnivore
food: small mammals and birds
distribution: Central America, South America
original origin:
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Rainforest
natural enemies: /
sexual maturity: about the age of five
mating season: ?
breeding season: 55 days
clutch size: 1 - 3 eggs
social behavior: Family Association
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting about the harpy

  • The harpy describes one of the world's largest and most powerful birds of prey.
  • It is native to much of Central and South America, where it inhabits subtropical and tropical rainforests.
  • This powerful bird of prey reaches a height of up to 100 centimeters and a wingspan of over two and a half meters. He can weigh up to ten kilograms, the females are significantly larger and heavier than the males. This unique sexual dimorphism is typical of birds of prey.
  • The plumage is black or dark gray on the back, on the wings and on the chest, while the belly is usually pure white, the legs appear white with black horizontal stripes.
  • The most striking feature of the harpy is its broad crown-like feather head of light gray feather feathers, which rises up when excited and takes on a two-pronged form. When the harpy is relaxed, the hair is lying flat on the back of the head and can not be recognized.
  • Harpies have exceptionally strong legs and toes and up to seven inches long claws. These serve the birds to transport even very heavy prey animals. Female harpies can carry a weight of up to four kilograms over long distances.
  • Harpies feed on different vertebrates, which they mainly capture on the trees, and more rarely on the bottom of the rainforests. Its hunting grounds cover over one hundred square kilometers.
  • In particular, they hunt various monkeys, possums, coatis, agoutis or large birds such as parrots. Now and then the harpy also captures an iguana or a snake. The main food source, however, make different types of sloths, as observations showed. Scientists suspect that the sloths are easy prey for the Harpies early in the morning, when they warm themselves from the sun in the high treetops after the cold night.
  • The slightly disproportionate physique of the harpy with its broad wings and disproportionately long tail allows her to maneuver in the dense foliage of the trees and turn abruptly when she is hunting.
  • Harpies live as diurnal loners who meet only in the mating season on conspecifics.
  • Females and males take care of the clutch together. After a relatively long breeding season of eight weeks, the first chick hatches in a nest raised high in the mahogany trees, whereupon the parents no longer pay attention to all the other eggs of the mire. The only young animal remains in the eyrie for about six months and is then provided with food by the parents for another one to two months.
  • The Harpy is on the list of endangered species, because their habitat is being continuously destroyed by the clearing of rainforests for pastures, settlements and plantations.
  • Since the harpies always raise only one chick, the stock can recover only very slowly in the course of intensive animal welfare efforts.