|Population||Less than 50,000|
|Conservation status||Near threatened|
The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a large diurnal bird native to the rain forests of Central and South America. Among the largest of eagles, the harpy is facing a reduction in numbers due to habitat loss and perceived or imagined threats to livestock and human life.
The harpy eagle is predominately dark grey to black above; its underside is white. The head is a lighter shade of gray, and bears a crest of feathers which it raises according to mood. The only difference between male and female is size; males are between 8-10 pounds in weight, with females nearly twice the size.
The harpy was named for the creatures of Greek mythology (harpazein, ἁρπάζειν, "to snatch"), said to be sharp-clawed vultures bearing the faces of women. The best-known victim of the harpies was Phineus, a blind seer who was robbed of his food by them as punishment by the gods, and who was releaved of them by Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece.
Distribution and habitat
The harpy is found from southern Mexico, and as far south as northern Argentina and Paraguay. Their habitat is the rainforest, generally the upper area or canopy, and they stray outside of forested areas if an easy meal is available.
The harpy actively takes prey roughly equivalent in weight to the bird itself; this prey is mainly tree-dwelling (sloths, monkeys, opossums), but they won't hesitate to go after prey found on the ground (small deer, coatis).