Tuesday, March 25, 2008


My father is an avid birdwatcher. It's too bad that he doesn't watch birds in the remote forests of the Philippines. If he did and was lucky, he might catch a glimpse of the Philippine eagle. The photos came from last month's issue of National Geographic Magazine. The February 2008 issue contained an article about the Philippine Eagle.

This raptor is the second largest and most endangered eagle in the world. Currently, this bird of prey is confirmed to exist in just four Philippine islands: Mindanao, Luzon, Leyte, and Samar. Scientists estimate that perhaps only a few hundred pairs remain in the world.

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• Ви клацання в фотографія до збільшуватися.


Let me quote from the Chicago Field Museum's website:

When the first humans arrived in the Philippines from adjacent Asia many thousands of years ago, they found an archipelago that was remarkably rich in natural resources. The seas were inhabited by the earth's most diverse marine communities on earth, providing an abundant source of food throughout the year. The land was covered almost entirely by rain forest that provided them with meat from wildlife, building materials, and seemingly everlasting supplies of clear, cool water.

Those natural resources have been squandered, so badly damaged by over-use, mismanagement, and greed that recovery is uncertain, and collapse seems to be a real possibility. The nation now faces stark alternatives: a decline from the biologically richest place on earth to environmental devastation, or recovery from the current brush with disaster to a point of stability. To understand the origin of this dramatic and terrible situation, we must begin with history, but must end with societal and personal choice.

Few countries in the world were originally more thoroughly covered by rain forest than the Philippines. Brazil has extensive savannah and brush; Indonesia has many dry islands; Kenya and Tanzania have only small patches of rain forest. A few hundred years ago, at least 95 percent of the Philippines was covered by rain forest; only a few patches of open woodland and seasonal forest, mostly on Luzon, broke the expanse of moist, verdant land.

By the time the Spanish arrived in the Philippines in the 16th century, scattered coastal areas had been cleared for agriculture and villages. The only domestic grazer was the water buffalo, and pastureland was very limited. Some forest had been cleared in the interior as well—particularly the terraced rice lands of the central cordillera mountain range of northern Luzon—but most coastal areas and the richest of the lowlands remained completely forested, broken only by the occasional cultivated clearings. By 1600, the human population of the Philippines probably numbered about 500,000, and old-growth rain forest over 90 percent of the land, home to thousands of plant and animal species interacting in the web of life that sustained the human population.


From National Geographic's website:

With a wingspan of two meters (seven feet) and a weight of up to 6.5 kilograms (15 pounds), the species casts an impressive shadow as it soars through its rain forest home. Its long tail helps it skillfully maneuver while hunting for its elusive prey, like flying lemurs or palm civets.

Known for its large, deep bill and spiky crest, the Philippine eagle is arguably the most majestic creature in the rain forest. Its blue-gray eyes, unique among raptors, add to its striking appearance. The bird’s call is a loud, high-pitched whistle. Both female and male eagles display their impressive crests when on alert. An eagle twists its head to change its visual perspective and determine an object’s size and distance.

A breeding pair of eagles requires from 40 to 80 square kilometers (25 to 50 square miles) of rain forest to survive. The word "raptor" comes from the Latin root that means "to seize and carry away." Any bird that kills with its feet is a raptor. While they often catch prey in midair, those nesting in large trees in lowland areas search for prey on the ground. Eagles hunt a variety of animals, ranging in size from small bats to 14-kilogram (30-pound) deer. The most common prey is the flying lemur, an arboreal mammal with webbed feet and claws. Other meals of choice include palm civets, flying squirrels, snakes, rats, and birds.

For decades the bird was known as the monkey-eating eagle. A presidential proclamation renamed it the Philippine eagle in 1978, in part to promote national pride in the magnificent endangered bird. In 1995 the Philippine eagle replaced the maya as the national bird.


This video shows an eagle hunting in flight.


Click here: The Philippine Eagle Foundation

Here's one final whimsical look at this magnificent animal.

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Anonymous said...

is it just the second largest raptor?because all the way i thought it was the largest

Percoo said...

To quote from Answers.com:

It depends.

In zoology heaviest means largest so the Philippines Eagle would be largest but in size the Harpy Eagle takes it. In terms of longest wing span, the Wedge tailed eagle of Australia has the largest, with estimates of average wingspan ranging from 230cm to 250cm, with rare examples reputedly reaching 300cm.

The largest ever is the Haast's Eagle (Harpagornis moorei),with its body (4.7 ft) long, and (10 ft) across the wings and weighing at least (33 lb), it is now extinct.

The Steller's sea eagle is the heaviest living eagle averaging 15-20 lbs and the Philippine eagle is the largest in physical dimensions or size averaging a meter tall, 95-112 cm in length, longest legs and claws with the largest wing surface area. Harpy eagle is the bulkiest or lagest body mass in relation to its size.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_worlds_largest_Eagle#ixzz1IeD4Rk4b