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The Harpy Eagle is one of the largest eagles and most powerful birds of prey in the world. It is a magnificent meat-eater that lives in Central and South American rainforests. This large eagle makes whistling and clicking calls. It is an endangered species because of the fragmentation and destruction of its habitat, and also because of hunting.

Anatomy: Harpy Eagles are about 2.8 ft (86 cm) long and have a wingspan of about 6.5 ft (2 m). Females are about a third larger than males. On average, female harpies weigh 14-18 pounds (7-9 kg), and male harpies weigh 10-16 pounds (5-8 kg). Their curved talons are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long, as long as the claws of a grizzly bear.

Diet: Eagles are carnivores; they hunt and scavenge during the day (they are diurnal). Harpies eat sloths, monkeys, opossums, large reptiles (like iguanas), large rodents, and other birds. The eagle dives down onto its prey and catches it with outstretched, clawed feet.

Eggs and Nests: Harpy Eagles mate for life; they build a large nest made of sticks and twigs. Nests, called aeries, are usually located very high (often over 130 ft=40 m) in trees or on cliffs. Females lay 1-2 eggs in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time), but only one survives. The incubation period is about 53 to 56 days. Both parents care for the young.

Classification: Class Aves (birds), Order Falconiformes, Family Accipitridae, Genus Harpia, Species harpyja.

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