The Philippine Eagle is a rare bird and at the same time one of the most powerful, largest and most striking in the world.
Although it is commonly known as the Philippine Eagle, its scientific name is Pithecophaga Jefferyi, it belongs to the family Accipitridae and is endemic to that Asian country.
Unfortunately, the Philippine Eagle is one of the most endangered animals in the world and at greatest risk of disappearing in a few years, to the point that there are believed to be fewer than 500 specimens alive.
Characteristics of the Philippine Eagle
The Philippine eagle is one of the largest eagles in the world, reaching 1 to 2 meters in length and weighing about 7 kilograms.
In this rare bird species there is sexual dimorphism, so that females are larger than males by at least 10 to 20%. But this is the only noticeable difference because otherwise they are very similar in appearance.
This bird doesn’t have very long wings compared to other eagles, but it does have wider ones. Its tail, on the other hand, is a little longer than that of its relatives.
In relation to the colour of its plumage, it is dark brown, but, the underside of its wings is white, its legs are yellow and its beak is bluish grey.
The youngest specimens are similar to the adults, but unlike them, their back feathers are characterized by pale fringes.
A characteristic detail of this rare animal is that the plumage of its head and neck form a woolly crest that gives it the appearance of a lion.
The Philippine eagle’s appearance is very serene, it seems to be relaxed most of the time.
But this does not mean that it is completely calm or harmless as it has strong and powerful legs with lethal, fearful dark claws that allow it to effectively capture prey without letting it escape.
In this task it also uses its impressive beak with which it can capture large prey and kill them instantly.
In terms of life expectancy, the Philippine eagle is an animal that can live up to 40 years in its natural habitat. This average increases if it is in captivity as it could live up to 60 years.
Where does the Philippine Eagle live?
This bird is native to the Philippines, so it is usually found on the islands of the Philippine archipelago.
They are especially found on the islands of Mindanao, where the largest number of breeding age pairs are found, Luzon, Samar and Leyte.
These areas are the ideal habitat for this rare animal at an altitude of about 1800 meters.
What do they feed on?
This bird is also called the monkey-eating eagle because for a long time it was believed that its diet consisted exclusively of this mammal.
However, although monkeys do form part of its diet, the truth is that other species do too.
The Philippine eagle also eats flying lemurs, palm kelp, rats, snakes, flying squirrels, bats, smaller birds, and are even capable of eating pigs and dogs, if given the opportunity.
Sometimes this rare animal hunts in pairs using a precise technique: one distracts the prey and the other takes advantage of it to take it by surprise by pouncing on it with its powerful claws.
Reproduction of the Philippine Eagle
The females reach sexual maturity earlier than the males, as they do so when they are 5 years old and the male 7. From that moment on, the female can lay only one egg in a period of two years.
The female can then lay a single egg over a two-year period. The rutting season is from September to February and, as with many other birds, it is monogamous. The pair begin their relationship when they build their nest high in the trees.
After mating the female will lay an egg between October and December. From then on, both parents participate in the incubation process for 58 to 68 days, although the female will spend more time in this task.
After hatching, the chick will be cared for, fed and protected by its parents until it is ready to defend itself, something that generally happens when it reaches 20 months.+
Do Philippine Eagles have Predators?
It is believed that in the Philippine archipelago there are no predators for this eagle, one of the reasons being its large size.
But despite this, according to the IUCN, the Philippine eagle is a Critically Endangered (CR) species facing imminent risk of extinction.
Primarily, this rare bird is threatened by humans and their activities, which include deforestation, mining, pollution and the use of pesticides.
Without leaving aside its indiscriminate hunting to sell the specimens and even to eat its meat.