The most powerful bird of prey in the world

November 8, 2011 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

Watch Nature “Jungle Eagle” 8 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 9 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Close up of Harpy EagleAbout last year at this time I discovered the Nature program “American Eagle,” which chronicles a pair of nesting bald eagles in northeast Iowa. It seemed every day I was checking the live webcam to see what the chicks were doing, and I even drove to Iowa to check out the nest! Ok, I happen to have family there so it’s not like I wasn’t obligated to visit. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I’m pretty excited that Nature is about to profile an even bigger, more fierce bird of prey in “Jungle Eagle.”

We’re talking about the harpy eagle, a roughly 10-20 pound bird that lives in the rainforest of Central and South America (bald eagles average 10-14 pounds). Despite its weight, the harpy has relatively short wings that help it maneuver through the rainforest. And, unlike the eagles we’re accustomed to in the Midwest harpy’s don’t hover in search of prey. Instead they scream through the jungle trees at breakneck speeds and feed primarily on tree-dwelling mammals like sloths and monkeys (illustrated in the video below).

Unfortunately I  won’t get to observe the harpy eagles like I was able to get up close to the bald eagles. For one, Central America isn’t anywhere near Iowa, but more so, the crew at Nature says harpy eagles are incredibly tough to observe and film in the wild. Luckily we have them to bring us this intimate portrait of this elusive bird of prey.

Watch The Power in This Eagle on PBS. See more from Nature.

1 thought on “The most powerful bird of prey in the world”

  • I think the African crown eagle is the most powerful bird in the world. This deadly predator has his home in most of Africa. It conquers and kills any creature in the air with relative ease. Commonly referred to as the Leopard of the air, it is the most feared and avoidable bird in Africa. No bird dares fumble when this master killer is around. It kills all tree animals and even the largest monkeys, the mandrils are not safe when this brutal killer is around. It has on a number of occasions attack humans but for timely intervention. Experience has shown that no other bird is more powerful than the African crown eagle. Tourist should beware of this master African killer.

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