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what is the largest eagle?
Eagles are big birds, but some species are bigger than others. The biggest eagle is absolutely massive by all standards, though several species are relatively large, even for a predatory bird. Of course, some birds are larger, like pelicans and marabou storks. However, that doesn’t diminish the awe-inspiring size of some eagle species.
Wingspan: Between 2 and 3 meters
Weight: Up to 13 kg
Location: South Island of New Zealand
The Haast’s eagle had long been wiped out but it was the largest breed to ever exist. Unfortunately, the destruction of their homes and depletion of their prey caused their extinction 5 centuries ago. The Haast’s eagle preyed on big, flightless bird species like the moa (an extinct flightless bird endemic to New Zealand). Since they weighed on the heavy side, they jumped as a means to take off from the ground, which was also thanks to their powerful legs.
Martial Eagle – 8.5-foot Wingspan
The martial eagle lives in sub-Saharan Africa. Not only does it have an 8.5-foot wingspan, but it is also one of the most powerful birds in the world. This 14-pound bird can knock a grown man off his feet, and it is the biggest eagle alive today. The diet of this eagle can vary, but it needs to eat often because of its size. It dines primarily on birds, like guinea fowl, buzzards, and poultry. In other areas, its diet consists mainly of mammals, like hyrax and small antelopes.
These birds almost always build their nests in areas where they can swoop straight from them. It is not unusual for the martial eagle to have two nests. Then, it rotates between them in alternate years.
Regardless of where you are in the world, get out in nature and start exploring. Look upward, and you may see one of these large eagles.
Steller’s Sea Eagle
The Steller’s sea eagle weighs about 15 pounds, though some have been found that weigh up to 20 pounds. By weight, this is the largest eagle around. If you use wingspan or some other measurements, it may be smaller than the Harpy and Philippine eagle, though. It depends on what measurements you’re looking at.
This eagle has dark brown plumage and a bright yellow beak and talons. They’re pretty unique as far as eagles go. They live in coastal northeastern Asia, and many consume fish, though they occasionally hunt other waterbirds. As their name suggests, they hang out mostly around water.
There are various populations spread throughout their range. The largest one is on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, where about 4,000 of these birds regularly live. Because of population segmentation, these eagles are considered vulnerable.
Harpy Eagle, 200 cm (78.7 inches)
The harpy eagle is a powerful bird of prey and one of the largest in the world. It has huge, strong talons that can compare to a bear’s claws and its legs can be as thick as a human’s wrist. With a wingspan of up to 2 meters, it’s a good navigator across Central and South America. The harpy eagle is the national bird of Panama. A long tail, broad and rounded wings allow the harpy eagle to navigate the rainforests of South America. Like many forest raptors, its wings are well adapted to the forest canopy and enable it to dodge through branches. The adult harpy eagle has black feathers on the main body and grey head and neck. It preys on medium sized arboreal mammals such as sloths and monkeys.
In terms of appearance, its black, grey, and white feathers are identical in both males and females, with the raised feathers on its head giving the bird a quizzical expression. If the harpy eagle’s goth look wasn’t fearsome enough, take note of its powerful talons. The rear talons are actually bigger than the claws of a grizzly bear and measure 5 inches in length. In fact, no other eagle has talons so large. With such power, it should come as no surprise that the harpy eagle is at the top of its food chain.
American Bald Eagle – 8.2-foot Wingspan
The white head and brown body weighing about 17 pounds make the American bald eagle one of the most recognized birds in the world. This is especially true in America, where it is the national bird. It is hard to miss this bird soaring through the air because of its 8.2-foot wingspan.
While they may hunt when necessary, they are a scavenger, who prefers to dine on roadkill and meat killed by others. Other birds often scatter when one is present because of this eagle’s size.
African Crowned Eagle
Weight: 4.7 kgs
Wingspan: 2 meters
The African crowned eagle is not the largest eagle in Africa, but is the most powerful eagle in Africa by some way due to the combination of their weight and thick legs with long talons.
They live in live Africa’s rainforests and woodland forests and are also seen on Africa’s savannas. Built for flying among trees, their wings are relatively short and broad, with a long rudder-like tail to help navigate through the branches.
The crowned eagle preys on animals up to four times their own weight, swooping down and breaking the prey’s spine with their talon. This diet includes African monkeys, guinea fowl, hyraxes, snakes, mongoose, and small antelopes.
Giant Philippine eagle
In the humid rainforests that blanket the mountainsides of the Philippine islands lives what the natives of Bonga, Samar, call the ‘monkey-eating eagle.’ Legend has it that swooping through the thick mist is a bird as big as a man that preys upon the islands’ macaques. While monkey-eating is limited, the giant Philippine eagle does seem to be a creature straight out of folklore with an average wingspan of over two meters (7ft).
Considered the largest eagle in the world in terms of length and wing surface, the giant Philippine eagle averages one meter in height (3 ft) from the tip of its crown feathers to its tail. Only the harpy and Steller’s sea eagles outweighs the Philippine eagle in terms of mass. Still, the Philippine eagle ranges from 3.6 – 8.2 kilograms (8-18 lb).
The eagle’s back plumage has long, brown feathers with a white underside, and both colors surround its face. Giant Philippine eagles have blue-grey eyes that see eight times more clearly than humans paired with a high-arching, bluish beak. Sharp, powerful talons further assist in hunting.
As apex predators, giant Philippine eagles help the rainforest ecosystem thrive by keeping mammal, lizard, and bird populations in check. Their average diet includes flying lemurs, squirrels, fruit bats, rats, snakes, monitor lizards, owls, and hornbills. While Philippine eagles occasionally eat monkeys, the local macaques are about equal in size to the eagles and, therefore, potentially dangerous prey.
The white-tailed eagle is relatively large. This common eagle species is widely found throughout temperate Eurasia. They are found as far west as Greenland and as far east as Japan. Their extensive range means they are in the least concerned category.
Despite their extensive range, they tend to nest in specific areas due to human activity. They are not very outgoing birds and usually stay far away from human populations. This eagle is considered threatened or extinct in some countries, primarily due to pesticides and similar human activities.
These birds spend most of the year near bodies of large water, including the sea and freshwater lakes. They require large, old trees or cliffs for nesting. and an apex predator, but they also will become scavengers when they can. They eat mostly fish and other water birds.
Golden Eagle, 220 cm (86.6 inches)
The Golden eagle is the most popular national bird in countries such as Germany, Austria, Mexico, and Albania. It is very common in the Northern hemisphere and the most widely found eagle species. the most powerful bird of prey in North America and known for its swiftness and strength. and dark brown in color with golden brownish color around their necks and head. It feeds on small mammals such as jackrabbits and can sometimes attack large mammals such as lambs, goats and other domestic animals. eagle has a wingspan of 185-220 cm and weighs between 3.1 kg-6.2 kg. The Golden eagle can be found in open country with natural vegetation which allows it to spot prey easily. They also prefer elevated areas such as mountains, riverside cliffs, and canyonlands. Currently, the Golden eagle population appears to be stable.
Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle
Weight: 5.3 kgs
Wingspan: 2.3 meters
Australasia is home to many large birds, but the Australian wedge-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in Australia or Guinea. They are found at both the sea-level and the mountainous regions, preferring open lands and forested landscapes.
The name comes from their characteristic wedge-shaped tail, which combines with a pale beak, white feet, and dark brown colour around the eyes to make them easily distinguishable.
Verreaux’s eagle (Black eagle)
Wingspan: 1.81 to 2.3 m (5 ft 11 in to 7 ft 7 in)
Weight: 4.19 kg (9.2 lb)
Length: 75 to 96 cm (30 to 38 in)
This eagle is most often observed among the rocky, mountainous regions in East and northeast Africa. It has one of the most specialized diet of any bird predator, favoring two types of hyrax over any other animal. However, in times of depletion, it will try out a variety of smaller mammals, even monkeys. The hyrax it catches usually weigh around five pounds, but the eagle is capable of lifting more weight. One observer saw the eagle fly off with a lamb weighing as much as 33 pounds.
This eagle practices siblicide, where the larger baby eagle in the nest either kills its sibling or the younger dies by starvation.