The harpy has a wingspan of 2 meters (6.5 feet), a body length of 90-105 cm (3-3.5 feet), and weighs 10 – 20 pounds. The female can be twice as heavy as her mate.
Harpies are found in tropical lowland forests ranging from southeastern Mexico to northern Argentina and southern Brazil, with regular sightings in Guyana and Suriname. This bird prefers large expanses of uninterrupted forest, but will hunt in open areas adjacent to forest patches. They feed primarily on animals that live in the trees, like sloths, monkeys, opossums, and some reptiles and birds.
Harpy eagles build huge nests of sticks and branches in the tallest trees. Eggs take 53-58 days to hatch, with the chick fledging in 4.5 – 6 months. Juveniles stay in the parent’s territory for at least a year.
The scientific name comes from the Greek word harpe referring to a bird of prey mentioned by Aristotle, Pliny, and other Greek scholars.