The Harpy Eagle is one of the largest species of eagles in the world, even bigger than the Bald Eagle.
Named after the Greek mythology monsters, the extremely rare animal is found through Central America and South America rainforests, particularly Brazil, where it’s known as the Royal Hawk. The magical creature even inspired the design of Fawkes the Phoenix in the Harry Potter films.
The bird has a wingspan of over 7 feet and nearly the identical claw size of a grizzly bear. So massive, some people think it looks like a human in a costume.
But this powerful raptor is not your worst nightmare, even if the animal can snatch a sloth out of a tree for dinner (see video after the jump).
The cassowary is further proof that birds are living dinosaurs.
Native to Papua New Guinea and Northern Australia, the flightless Cassowary bird can grow up to a whopping 7 feet tall and weigh as much as 120 pounds. It’s the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird.
But even more dinosauric are the cassowary’s razor-sharp talons that it uses to defend itself. Known as the world’s most dangerous bird, the cassowary can quickly kill a human with one strike of its dagger-like feet.
Interestingly, the cassowary also lay bright green and pale green-blue eggs during the breeding season. That’s almost as fascinating as the bird’s turquoise neck and glossy feathers — such a neat-colored creature!
The rainbow of different colors on the lilac-breasted roller bird are gorgeous.
Native to sub-Saharan Africa and the national bird of both Botswana and Kenya, the bird is known to perch on tree tops by the roadside so it can pounce on rodents and insects moving about on the ground.
Multicolored and aggressive — especially when intruders get too close to its nest — these birds are also renown for their rolling flight pattern that sees them dip and dive from high in the sky in torpedo-like motion.
People have more in common with flamingos than they think.
Flamingos are known to seek out a specific set of friends they mix well with and ignore other groups that they don’t like.
Researchers at The University of Exeter who studied flamingo species for five years at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) Slimbridge Wetland Center found that these social animals tend to form lasting bonds with specific groups.
In addition to “hanging out,” these friendships are also important to survival in the wild.
“Our results indicate that flamingo societies are complex. They are formed of long-standing friendships rather than loose, random connections,” said Dr. Paul Rose of the University of Exeter.
“Flamingos don’t simply find a mate and spend their time with that individual.
“Some mating couples spend much of their time together, but lots of other social bonds also exist.
“We see pairs of males or females choosing to ‘hang out’, we see trios and quartets that are regularly together.
“Flamingos have long lives—some of the birds in this study have been at Slimbridge since the 1960s—and our study shows their friendships are stable over a period of years.
“It seems that—like humans—flamingos form social bonds for a variety of reasons, and the fact they’re so long-lasting suggests they are important for survival in the wild.”
Friends of a pink feathers tend to flock together. You can learn more about the study in the official paper here.
Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou turns bird flight into art in a project he calls Ornitografías.
Using his degrees in geology and photography and experience as a lighting technician in the fashion industry, Bou extracts high-resolution photos from video stills to illustrate the path of birds in motion.
The result is a spectacular piece of art hinged on the physics and mathematics of flight.
Thinking of parrots usually conjures up images of the brightly colored blue, red, and green creatures.
But with the shape of a parrot and the dark beak of a vulture, Pesquet’s parrot, commonly known as the Dracula parrot, is one of the more unique-looking parrot species.
The vampiric looking bird from the mountains of New Guinea looks bloodthirsty but snacks on a diet of figs. It’s unusual goth-like appearance, a mishmash of black and red plumes, is also quite beautiful. Male Dracula parrots have an extra red dot behind the ears.
Unfortunately, the Dracula Parrot’s mesmerizing feathers make it attractive to poachers. The bird has been listed on the endangered species list by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).