What is the largest eagle ever?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

The largest eagle ever to have existed in the world is known as the Haast’s eagle. With a wingspan ranging from two to three meters, it was truly a magnificent and imposing bird. Weighing up to 13 kilograms, it is believed to have been heavier in proportion to its wing size than any of the eagles that currently inhabit our planet.

The Haast’s eagle, also known by its scientific name Harpagornis moorei, was native to New Zealand and was named after Sir Julius von Haast, a geologist who first discovered its remains. This incredible creature lived during the Pleistocene era, which was around 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago.

As an expert, I find it fascinating to imagine the immense size and power of the Haast’s eagle. To put its wingspan into perspective, it is comparable to the height of an average adult human. Just picture yourself standing beneath its outstretched wings, and you can begin to grasp the sheer magnitude of this ancient predator.

One remarkable aspect of the Haast’s eagle is its weight-to-wing ratio. Despite its massive size, it is believed to have been even bulkier than modern eagles relative to its wings. This suggests that it had a more robust build, possibly to accommodate its prey and hunting style.

Unfortunately, the Haast’s eagle is now extinct, with the last individuals dying out around 500 years ago. The exact reasons for its extinction are not fully understood, but it is thought to be primarily due to the decline and eventual extinction of its main food source, the flightless moa birds.

Moa birds were large, flightless birds that inhabited New Zealand alongside the Haast’s eagle. They were the primary prey of this giant eagle, and their extinction likely had a significant impact on the survival of the Haast’s eagle itself. Without its main food source, the eagle would have struggled to find enough sustenance to support its massive size.

It is truly awe-inspiring to contemplate the existence of such a magnificent creature. The Haast’s eagle’s size and power would have made it a formidable predator in its ecosystem. Its ability to soar through the skies and hunt down prey would have been a sight to behold.

The Haast’s eagle holds the title for being the largest eagle ever to have existed. With its impressive wingspan and weight, it was a true giant of the avian world. Although it is no longer with us, its legacy lives on as a testament to the incredible diversity and majesty of the natural world.