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  • Writer's pictureJo O

Harpy Eagle Lifer of a Lifetime

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

I’m not a big fan of zoos but seeing a Harpy Eagle caged at the National Zoo in Brasilia was probably the lowest I’ve ever felt at such an institution. This enormous, powerful and majestic creature trapped in a cage no bigger than a small kitchen was still a sight to see but this was not the way I wanted to see my first Harpy.

Since I was small, I’ve been enamored with the “king of the eagles” and I learned early on that they were a force to be reckoned with. Monkeys beware! Toucans beware! Macaws beware! They don’t discriminate for beauty and they’ll ferociously hunt big and small, beautiful and ugly. They are feared in the bird world. The name Harpy comes from ancient Greek harpies to refer to the powerful wind spirits that flew the dead to Hades. The actual eagle seems to be strong enough to do the same with talons strong enough to break a person’s arm effortlessly. Unfortunately, they are becoming ever more threatened because their habitat is shrinking and even face local extinction because of climate change. On top of this, they are shy and elusive and present challenges for observation. With that said, the Harpy range is extensive starting off in the most southern reaches of Mexico all the way down to Argentina. They are probably most common in Brazil and there are certain areas where people can quietly observe the Harpy nesting. This requires planning and a knowledge of where and when they can be found.

Thankfully, Birding is the World Brazil is proud to offer special trips to respectfully view these incredible eagles raising their young. We would love to take you to see one of the most beautiful birds on the planet.

Stay tuned! Soon we'll release more news about this unique tour to see this amazing bird!

Place your name on the WAITING LIST for this coming soon tour.

Harpy Eagle and a chick in the nest

Harpy Eagle and and a chick. Photo: Carlos Tuyama

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