Monday, 16 March 2009

THE BIGGEST OF THEM ALL- The Philippine Eagle

Interesting childhood question of mine. I was quite jealous when I was quite young to discover Wedgtails weren't the biggest. Without ruining my life (?), I've discovered through various articles and experience: Some stats regarding Steller's either put average weights at either 9 or 9.5kg (depending on location) for females and 7 - 8 kgs males with wingspan max 230 -260cm with females at a max of 103cm in length (a species with a liking for the cold). -Very robust eagles with large heads and huge yellow honkers and shortish wedged-shaped tails. I was fortunate to see a collection of them in the wild at Shiretoko and noticed marked size differences between individuals. Some males almost look small and compact compared to some female White-tailed Sea-eagles which have very short tails and I've read can average 7kgs (at Shiretoko) with 5kgs for males and a wingspan of upto 230cm (though quite broad). Two weeks after visiting Shiretoko I visited home in oz and had a close encounter with a pair of Wedgetails. The primaries of the female did appear to out extend the Stellers but their long tails (making up their max av length of 110cm) and lanky bodies, are a different sight with females averaging just 5kgs ( a species adapted to hot temperatures exceeding 40c) yet with wingspan at a max of 260cm being equal to max for Stellers. Captives: A Stellers at 12.7 kgs for an exchange breeding program vs a Harpy at 13kgs in a zoo. I've read different differing accounts of female Harpies averaging 8 or 9kgs in the wild but jungle based raptors have shorter broader wings (and aerial hunting harpies have huge hind talons). The tallest, Phillipine Eagles, at 7kgs (+? )have, according to BBC and other articles, the greatest surface area for the wings. I don't know which I'd buy if they were cars or cameras? They all look pretty cool. Couldn't say I'd be disappointed with any. -Though I only get a buzz seeing any in the wild. Aussie 'Little Eagles' at just over 1kg are super and the largest known, extinct, Haast's Eagle from NZ is sadly long gone but it would be great to photograph. But with the latter in mind, I have had close encounters with wedgetails (an aquila species) that made me a little suspicious and nervous. I hope anyone can enjoy encountering any species in the wild! All beautiful aerialists with proud demeanours. Cheers.