Amazon eagles lose habitat to deforestation

A young harpy eagle. Research shows that deforestation in the Amazon in Brazil is putting serious obstacles to survival for the raptors in Brazil. Credit: Francesco Veronesi

Intense deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest is pushing one of the world’s largest eagles to the brink of extinction in Brazil. The Amazon eagle (Harpia harpyja), known also as the harpy eagle, is found widely across the Amazon and beyond — the raptors can be found as far north as Mexico. But the birds are imperiled in much of their range, and 90% of all harpy eagles are believed to be found in the Amazon. Researchers of a study published recently in Scientific Reports recently analyzed prey species and eagle habits in parts of Brazil, and found they primarily feed on large mammals in the tree canopy like sloths and monkeys. They also estimated deforestation, and found that areas with more than 50% deforestation are unsuitable to support raising new chicks. They found that 35% of the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil was unsuitable for the eagles. Deforestation has likely caused the loss of thousands of potential breeding pairs, the researchers found.

Read more at BBC News.
Read the study in Scientific Reports.