The harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) is the largest and most powerful bird of prey in South America. It inhabits tropical forests from southern Mexico to north-eastern Argentina.


This species disappeared from many sites where it was formerly present, particularly from the Atlantic tropical forest of Brazil.

The harpy eagle is threatened by the loss of its habitat due to logging, cattle ranching and agriculture, but also by hunting. This species is indeed considered as a threat to cattle, which leads to human-wildlife conflicts.


In 1997, the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (INPA) developed the Harpy Eagle Conservation Project which aims to engage local communities in the monitoring and surveillance of this species. Presently, about 60 nesting sites are watched over by researchers and volunteers from local communities.

The use of radio telemetry in this project allows the team to follow up young harpy eagles after they leave the nest. Chicks are equipped before their first flight with transmitters financed by Beauval Nature. With this equipment, researchers can study the dispersion scheme of young harpy eagles from their birth nests.

The project is also studying, with the help of molecular markers, the genetic variability distribution of the species, the social structure and the reproductive system of harpy eagles.

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