Manu National Park is globally recognized as the most biodiverse place on earth. This biodiversity is reflected in an outstanding number of species, ranging from invertebrates to mega fauna. In today’s blog post we will discuss the three biggest eagles that call Manu National Park home.
Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpija):
Harpy Eagle – Photo: Andre Baertschi
Being the largest eagle in the world, the Harpy Eagle is the undisputed King of the Amazonian skies. Weighting around 9-10kg and having a wingspan of 200cm, there is no doubt that they are the ultimate avian predator. While most raptors hunt birds and small mammals –such as squirrels or mice- the Harpy Eagle feeds almost exclusively of Sloths and Monkeys.
Due to their high consumption rates of ‘big’ mammals, the presence of Harpy Eagles is a great indicator species, as it can only subsist on pristine forests.
In Tambo Blanquillo Lodge, we have records of this mythical species from our Canopy Tower, and over the last couple years, sightings of Harpy Eagles are becoming increasingly frequent in our Blanquillo Clay-Lick. Given that they do not –normally- prey on Macaws, we believe that there must be a nest in the area.
Black-and-Chestnut Eagle (Spizaetus isidoris):
Black-and-Chestnut Eagle – Photo: Dusan Brinkhuizen
While the Harpy Eagle dominates the Amazonian Lowlands, the ultimate avian predator of the Cloud-forest. Due to the fact that they inhabit high altitude forests (3000-1500masl) they are a less specialist species than the Harpy, and prey on a diversity of big birds and small mammals.
If you wish to see this species, we recommend our Complete Manu (link) Tour through the Kosnipata Valley, as there is an active nest in the area.
Fun Fact: The juvenile of this species is white, and it is misidentified as a Harpy Eagle by unexperienced birders.
Juvenile Black-and-Chestnut Eagle – Photo: Lou Jost
Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus ornatus):
Ornate Hawk-Eagle – Photo: Joao Sergio Barros F. de Souza
The last of the big eagles of the park –and the most striking one- is the Ornate Hawk-Eagle. This beautiful beast is the most common of the bunch. Our birdwatching groups record it on regular basis soaring over one of our Oxbow Lakes, or perched in the understory of the forest, as they wait for Tinamou –or other ground-dwelling birds- to prey on.
If you wish to search for these magnificent creatures, make sure to contact us, and we recommend you an itinerary designed to give you the best chances of spotting these –and several other- amazing species.