Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Harpy Eagle nest found north of known range

From Environmental News Network comes a press release about the discovery of a Harpy Eagle nest with chicks located in Belize, 700 miles north of the raptor's known range.

TOLEDO DISTRICT, Belize – Scientists recently discovered an active Harpy Eagle nest in the Maya Mountains of Belize. Thought to be locally extinct in Belize since 2000 and extirpated from Mexico and most of Central America north of Panama, Harpy Eagles (Harpia harpyja) are designated as “Near Threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are considered “Critically Endangered” in Belize.

This discovery by a team from the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education is significant because the active nest represents the most-northerly known Harpy Eagle nest in the Americas. According to H. Lee Jones, author of The Birds of Belize, it is the first active Harpy Eagle nest recorded in Belize. Over 1100 km (~700 miles) separate these eagles from other populations.

Harpy Eagles are known as the most powerful eagle in the Americas, hunting prey as large as monkeys and sloths for food. With 7-foot wingspans and individual birds weighing up to 20 pounds, they are a formidable predator. Due to deforestation and hunting, Harpy Eagles are typically missing from most of Central America’s rainforests where they once freely ranged.

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Blogger Sheri said...

WOO HOO!! That's thrilling news! I'm sure they're keeping the nest location secret, but just knowing that Harpies are nesting in Belize will make my tour next March that much more special.

December 22, 2010 3:51 PM  

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