This Giant Eagle Has a 7-Feet Wingspan and Hunts Monkeys for Lunch

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: March 9, 2024
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Meet the magnificent Philippine eagle! This huge bird stands three feet tall and has a wingspan of over six feet! Known locally as the ‘monkey-eating eagle’ it has legendary status amongst the humid rainforests of the Philippine Islands. Sadly, this has not stopped it from veering to the edge of extinction.

Watch the Magnificent Bird Now

What Do Philippine Eagles Normally Look Like?

These are the largest eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface although they are not actually as heavy as the harpy and Steller’s eagle. That said, these guys are no lightweights and can reach 18 pounds!

They have long, brown plumage on their backs but their underside is white whilst their face is a mixture of both. In between their piercing blue-green eyes, they have a high-arching blue-grey beak. Their talons are strong and powerful and a great asset for hunting!

What Do Philippine Eagles Normally Eat?

The Philippine Eagle is also known as the “monkey-eating eagle”.


These birds do hunt monkeys – namely the macaques that live in the local forests. However, these monkeys are similar in size to the birds so hunting them is a risky business. Monkeys often fight back! A successful monkey hunt requires a pair of Philippine eagles. One eagle causes a distraction whilst the other one swoops down and grabs the monkey.

It is more usual to see them hunting flying lemurs, squirrels, and fruit bats. They also hunt snakes, lizards, and smaller birds. In fact, these birds play a vital role in keeping the local mammal, bird, and reptile populations in check.

What Threats Do They Face?

There is no doubt that the Philippine eagle is a national treasure but that has not secured its future. They only live in the Philippines and were declared the national bird in 1995 by President Fidel V. Ramos. They were even featured on a series of coins produced in the country between 1983 and 1994.

Sadly, this bird is categorized as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List. An assessment in 2016 identified only between 180 and 500 mature individuals in between 11 and 100 locations. What’s more, the populations are decreasing and are severely fragmented. Their main threats are habitat loss as a result of agriculture, mining, hunting, logging, and climate change. To counteract these threats, protected areas have been created and these include Mt. Kitanglad and Mt. Apo Natural Parks on Mindanao and the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park on Luzon.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alaz/

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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