Harpy Eagle Hatches at Zoo Miami!
(January 4, 2013) Harpy Eagle Hatches at Zoo Miami On December 2nd, a harpy eagle chick hatched at the harpy eagle enclosure within the Amazon and Beyond exhibit. Because bird hatchings, especially those of large raptors, are extremely delicate and experience relatively high mortality during the first few weeks, the zoo’s protocol is to wait 30 days before formally announcing the hatching to the public. Therefore, it is now with great celebration that we can officially announce this wonderful addition to Zoo Miami! This is the second hatching of this highly endangered eagle at Zoo Miami which is only the second zoo in all of North America to successfully reproduce this species. Harpy eagles are the most powerful birds of prey in the Western Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. They are found in large undisturbed tracts of lowland tropical forests in Central and South America and feed on a variety of canopy birds and mammals including macaws, monkeys, and sloths. A female harpy eagle can weigh as much as 20 pounds and has talons the size of grizzly bear claws. They usually reach sexual maturity at between 6 and 7 years and have a lifespan of approximately 35 years.
The 11 year old mother and nearly 13 year old father were both captive hatched at the San Diego Zoo and are at Zoo Miami as part of a breeding loan agreement between the two institutions. Both parents arrived at Zoo Miami in 2002 and were introduced to each other in August of that year. They produced their first successful hatching in October of 2009.
In the wild, harpy eagles pair for life and usually raise a single chick every two years, sometimes every three. After an incubation period of nearly two months, the chick is dependent on its parents for sometimes up to a year which is part of the reason that the reproductive rate is so low. These eagles need huge areas of undisturbed rainforests to survive and are easily disturbed by human encroachment and development. Logging and poaching are a major reason for the endangered status of these impressive raptors.
For nearly 15 years, Zoo Miami has been a partner in conservation with the government of Panama where the harpy eagle is the National Bird of the republic. In 1989, it helped direct the construction of a state-of-the-art harpy eagle center just outside of Panama City and later next month hopes to bring the first harpy eagle hatched at Zoo Miami to that center as part of an international breeding loan.
Ron Magill, Zoo Communications Director
Zoo Miami – 305-278-4929
Cellular – 305-733-5108