Papuan Eagle (Harpyopsis novaeguineae)

Papuan Eagle

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Harpyopsis novaeguineae | [authority] Salvadori, 1875 | [UK] Papuan Eagle | [FR] Aigle de Nouvelle-Guinee | [DE] Papuaadler | [ES] Arpia Papua | [NL] Harpij-arend


Monotypic species


genus harpyopsis consists of only one species, Papuan Eagle, harpyopsis novaeguineae. It is a large crested raptor endemic to New Guinea.

Physical charateristics

Very large, powerful eagle of forest canopies. Grey-brown upperparts including an erectile occipital ruff, barred wings and tail, pale brown upper breast, shading paler ventrally. In size, it is matched only by the short-tailed White-bellied Sea-eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster and the uniformly very dark brown Gurney’s Eagle Aquila gurneyi. In plumage, it is similar to the smaller Long-tailed Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda and Doria’s Hawk Megatriorchis doriae but has an unstreaked breast. It has long and powerful unfeathered legs with sharp claws. The sexes are similar, and the female is slightly larger than the male. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Harpyopsis.

Listen to the sound of Papuan Eagle

[audio: Eagle.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 150 cm wingspan max.: 180 cm
size min.: 75 cm size max.: 90 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


Australasia : New Guinea. Widely distributed on New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). It occurs at very low population densities. There are no indications of territory or total population size, but it is significantly less common or extirpated in most densely inhabited regions.


It is most common in undisturbed forest but has been recorded from forest clearings and gallery forest from sea-level to 3,700 m


Only one active nest has been examined, containing a single chick, and it is possible that this species breeds less than annually

Feeding habits

It feeds mainly on mammals, mostly marsupials and rats, but also pigs and dogs, and sometimes takes birds, lizards and snakes. It often hunts on the ground but also takes arboreal prey and extracts animals from tree-cavities


This huge eagle is classified as Vulnerable on the basis of an estimated small population which may be declining through habitat loss, and locally at least, hunting. However, very little is known about its population size or trends and it may yet prove to be more secure than currently thought.
It is hunted in much of New Guinea, especially the highlands, for its tail and flight feathers which are used in ceremonial head-dresses. There is most hunting pressure close to densely inhabited areas (most people live in mid-montane altitudes). Guns are becoming increasingly available in Papua New Guinea, locally increasing hunting pressure, and logging roads also open up previously inaccessible areas to hunting.
Papuan Eagle status Vulnerable



Distribution map

Papuan Eagle distribution range map

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