Harpy Eagle

Photo of Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle


The Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) is a majestic, large bird of prey with striking black and white plumage. Native to the forests of Belize, these eagles are known for their powerful build and distinctive crested appearance.

Interesting Facts

  • Scientific Name: Harpia harpyja
  • Habitat: Inhabits the forests of Belize, demonstrating adaptability to various ecosystems.
  • Diet: Apex predators, feeding on large mammals and birds; play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance.
  • Behavior: Solitary and territorial, with exceptional hunting skills; their presence signifies a healthy forest ecosystem in Belize. Fun Facts

Female harpies are up to 40% larger than males; they weigh up to 20 lbs

Harpies build their nests in the crowns and largest branches of emergent trees. Their nests can measure up to 5ft in diameter

The harpy eagle is named after the creature in ancient mythology which had the body and talons of a bird and the face of a woman. They were portrayed in various cultures as personification of storm winds, agents of the gods, and punishers/avengers

Their impressive wingspan is still relatively short for their size and body weight, which is an adaptation to a life maneuvering close-growing branches and vines etc in the forest canopy

Belize Zoo Trivia

  • The two harpies living at The Belize Zoo are Da Queen and Panama.

  • Da Queen was born in 1998, and was released on multiple occasions, but kept returning to the research station, so was brought to the Zoo for long term residence instead

  • Panama was born in 2002, and was sent to Belize as an ambassador for the Belize Harpy Eagle Restoration Program

Conservation Efforts

TBZTEC spearheaded the release of 15 harpy eagles from 2003-2009 as part of a species reintroduction program. The harpies were hatched and raised in Panama, then sent to the Zoo when they were successfully hunting on their own, and transferred and released in the Rio Bravo in northern Belize.

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