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Philippine Eagle
Photo: Philippine Eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi.
Philippine Eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi
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Where are they found? Asia

Map of the world.

Can you imagine a hawk that, despite having a wingspan greater than 213 cm (7 ft.), manoeuvres through the forest canopy with ease and snatches monkeys from trees? Well, the Philippine Eagle is just such a bird!

The Philippine Eagle is sometimes known as the Monkey-eating Eagle. While they do eat monkeys such as long-tailed macaques, flying lemurs are much more common prey.

These eagles are rather plainly coloured birds, being largely brown-backed and white-chested. When they are excited, they raise a short crest on the head, which gives them a punk look. They can be extremely long-lived—one captive bird died at the ripe old age of 41.

The Philippine Eagle is the second largest of its group, smaller than only the Harpy Eagle. Unfortunately, it is the rarest, with only several hundred pairs left in the rainforests of the Philippines (and only on the islands of Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao).

The reason these eagles are so rare today is simple: most of their habitat has been cut down. Each breeding pair needs between 65 and 130 square kilometres (25 to 50 square miles) of continuous rainforest for territory, so the destruction of 90% of the Philippine rainforest has been particularly devastating to this species.

Protection of the remaining forest and the establishment of the Philippine Eagle Foundation on Mindanao Island (where more than 20 birds have been raised, as of 2008) have been positive steps to saving this species. The Philippine Eagle has been the Philippines’s national emblem since 1995.

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“Philippine Eagle”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
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