Eagles: How many kinds are there?
Birds of prey are fascinating birds, said to be direct descendants from the raptors of prehistoric times, the most magnificent of the birds of prey are the eagles. While passing through Boise, Idaho I was drawn to the World Center for Birds of Prey located there. I was amazed to discover many eagles there that I had no idea existed. We all know of the Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle but there are other eagles in other parts of the world. So I wonder how many other kinds of Eagles are there in the world?
In fact there are about 59 different species of eagles throughout the world, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They fall into four different groups: the Sea and Fish Eagles, the Snake Eagles, the Harpy Eagles, and the Booted Eagles.
This group includes the Bald Eagle, our symbol of American strength. There are 11 species of this kind in the world of eagles that live near water. This type of eagle likes to eat fish and other animals that live in or near the water. Members of this group include the Steller's Sea Eagle, the White-Bellied Sea Eagle, the African Fish Eagle, and the American Bald Eagle.
The experience of seeing a Bald Eagle up close in the habitat in Boise, was very moving. It was easy to understand how this magnificent bird came to be the symbol of our United States. His look is so penetrating that you want to confess your inner thoughts to him.
There are six species that live in the rain forests of South America and the Philippines. These are the biggest of all the eagles; so enormous they can feed on large mammals such as monkeys or tree sloths. Female Harpy Eagles of South America can weigh over 20 pounds and have legs that are as big around as a child's wrist. Among these giants are the Black Solitary Eagle, The Crowned Solitary Eagle, the New Guinea Crested Eagle, and of course the Harpy Eagle
The magnificent bird pictured here is the Harpy Eagle with his halo of feathers and a wise and knowing look in his eyes. To view him was a kind of spiritual experience, very moving. I must say I am now a convert to the restoration and conservation of the birds of prey.
The Harpy Eagle is an endangered species that lives in the rainforests in jungle regions such as Brazil and Panama. They have vanished completely or have been severely depleted from many of their natural habitats. The Harpy Eagle restoration project was started almost 15 years ago at the WorldCenter in Boise.
There are 12 species of Snake Eagles in the world. These eagles primarily eat snakes, and can occasionally be seen snacking on frogs, lizards, and other reptiles and amphibians. They tend to be small to medium-sized. Where will you find these eagles? Well you find them in places where you find their food, such as forests, deserts, and in the plains. Some of the members of this group include the Crested Serpent Eagle, the Bateleur (shown), and the Brown Snake Eagles.
This third type of amazing eagle posed for pictures as he preened his lovely feathers. His name is Stoffel, and he is a 45 year old Bateleur Eagle from South Africa. His colorful red mask and yellow beak let you know what an exotic creature he really is as he puffs up and separates his feathers for you.
The Booted Eagles come in varying sizes. Some are almost as large as the Harpy Eagles, and some are smaller than a common crow weighing a little over a pound. They feed on everything from termites and small birds to large mammals such as small deer and carrion, which are animals that are already dead when an eagle finds them (road kill). All Booted Eagles share one characteristic in common, they all have feathers that extend down to their feet like boots. This feature distinguishes them from all other eagles. The Golden Eagle of North America is one of the most common Booted Eagles in the United States, but others include the Bonelli's Eagle, the Ayres' Hawk Eagle, the Imperial Eagle, and the Lesser Spotted Eagle.
World Center for Birds of Prey
To see the eagles and many other birds of prey visit the World Center in Boise, ID. To get to the World Center for Birds of Prey you would take Exit 50 off of Interstate 84 and drive south on South Cole Road approximately 16 miles, turn right at the sign for the center and travel up the steep hill. At the top you will discover an InterpretiveCenter that houses displays, theaters, habitats for the birds, and interactive exhibits. There are even daily shows staring live birds so you should arrive early to catch the acts.
5668 West Flying Hawk Lane· BoiseIdaho· 83709 - United States of America
Ph. 208-362-3716, Fax 208-362-2376
Interpretive Center 208-362-8687
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