Talk:Haast's eagle

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I am modifying the claim that these were the largest birds of prey ever to have lived since teratorns were clearly much larger. Here is a page with a partial scan of a 1980 article from Bioscience describing the 25' birds: Thanks, 08:00, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Teratorns were no birds of prey (no matter if they hunted or scavenged), because they are not related to true eagles or old-world vultures. Even today some vulturures reach similar sizes as Harpagornis, and in fact there were also some extinct real eagles, which were not much smaller.

Now I put it was the largest eagle to have ever existed, this sounds much better than the one at the top, I changed this. 12:43, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Article title[edit]

In my opinion, this article should be moved to Haast's eagle, with Harpagornis as a redirect. In general, Wikipedia style seems to be to use common (rather than scientific) names for animal article titles when such a name exists. Obviously, for most prehistoric species, no such name exists, but this species was extant within historical times and there is indeed a common name. We don't have an article for Haliaeetus leucocephalus; it is listed under Bald Eagle, its common name, with the former being a redirect. I think the same should be done here. Since this Talk page doesn't seem to get much traffic, I'm going to do the page move if there are no objections within a day or two. Firebug 15:03, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

You are correct, mostly. Like Bald Eagle, the correct placement for this article is Haast's Eagle, and I have corrected this now. - UtherSRG 21:03, August 2, 2005 (UTC)

Where did the name Haast's Eagle come from? Is Haast a person or a region? vacao 16:07, September 11, 2009 Daveosaurus (talk) 08:37, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Notes on comparisons[edit]

"Female Haast's Eagles weighed 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33 lb), and males weighed 9 to 10 kg (20 to 22 lb). They had a wingspan of roughly 2.6 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft) at most, which was short for a bird of the eagle's weight (the largest Golden Eagles and Steller's Sea Eagles may have a wingspan of almost the same length)"

This is a proportionally large wingspan, with a ratio approaching the Andean Condor Vultur gryphus (weight 7.5–15 kg/16½–33 lb, span 274–310 cm/108–122 in). Golden (span 180–234 cm/71–92 in) and Steller's Sea Eagles (span 195–230 cm/76¾–90½ in) are far behind. I'm not disputing the figures per se, as I've often seen similar ones elswhere, merely pointing out how conflicting the above statement is.

Though the figures do strike as odd: like said, forest eagles such as the Harpy Eagle Harpia harpyja (weight 4–9 kg/8¾–19¾ lb, span 176–201 cm/69¼–79 in) or the Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus (weight 2.7–4.7 kg/6–10¼ lb, span 151–181 cm/59½–71¼ in) indeed have relatively short spans. Figures taken from Raptors of the World (Ferguson-Lees & Christie 2001).

--Anshelm '77 (talk) 02:02, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

this is also on comparisons. i think this: "700,000 to 1.8 million years ago. Its increase in weight by ten to fifteen times over that period is the greatest and quickest evolutionary increase in weight of any known vertebrate."(taxonomy paragraph) is untrue even if we take the minimum 700Ka mentioned. i think that because some rodents after the KT boundary are supposed to have grown from the size of a rabbit to 3 mtr in 100Ka. only to become extinct soon after , but that is not the point, the point is that the actual rate is not unprecedented and therefore plausible. (talk) 02:50, 8 March 2010 (UTC)


Why do Hokioi and Hakawai redirect here? If anything, Pouakai and Poukai would have to. The factual basis of the Hokioi, though it was inspired by tales of the eagle, was actually Coenocorypha snipes (or rather the noises produced by them). The Hokioi of the lore was a mythical composite entity, and not identical to any single species of bird. Also, the correlation of each name's distribution with the known range of Haast's Eagle and the distribution of Māori dialects is... well let me say revealing (especially if you take into account "Hakawai"). In retrospect the outlandish attributes ascribed to the Hokioi make utter sense. The Māori were very astute observers; they knew what they saw and they also knew what they did not - or could not - see.

A thorough treatament of the Hokioi/Hakawai is beyond the scope of the Haast's Eagle article. It would need its own place.

In addition - the Hokioi tale gives the name of the "falcon" (= Eyles' Harrier) as "Kei". Now, if one frees oneself from the "Hokioi = Haast's Eagle" canard and realizes that the proper Māori name of the eagle - when it was still extant - was Pouakai, the matter becomes even more interesting. Especially when one also considers that the Moriori understood "Poua-" to imply something along the lines of "the hugest flying bird", because the hugest flying bird on the Chatham Islands is what received that name eventually... Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 14:37, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

This is interesting, but how do we know this eagle killed and ate moas in exactly the way described here? Claims such as these require facts to back them up. If these birds of prey could tackle moas, they could no doubt kill Maoris, especially since island animals are renowned for their boldness. Are there any legends of this happening? Do we know for certain the Haast's eagle was not semiaquatic or a scavenger, or preyed on much smaller animals? (talk) 01:36, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Some scientists recently found evidence that the Haast and the Hokioi are one and the same. (talk) 09:28, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Units of Measure[edit]

Why are the measurements given in ISO standard Metric and then in Imperial? Surely the ISO standard measurements are sufficient, and if anyone from the (very) few remaining countries using Imperial Units is interested, they can run a measurement through a converter. Having both clutters the article unnecessarily. Additionally, this is an article about a New Zealand based (unfortunately extinct) bird, and New Zealand, where probably the majority of the readership for this article live, is definitely a Metric using country. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DavidApi (talkcontribs) 20:10, 21 July 2008 (UTC)


I seriously doubt that this bird could snap a human's neck. The bones in a man's neck are about 2 inches wide, solid, and supported by about a foot diameter of muscle and tendon. The bones in the birds leg are less than an inch thick, hollow, and supported by at best 2 or 3 inches of muscle and tendon. (talk) 15:27, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Did you also factor in how well a human's neck can resist the trauma inflicted by being impacted by a 20 to 30 lb bird going at 80 miles per hour?--Mr Fink (talk) 16:33, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I think this is a very reasonable query. Yes, if I was hit at that speed by an object of that size I don't suppose there'd be much left of me – but I don't think it's as simple as that. Imagine two sets of bones hitting each other very hard – but for one to survive and the the other break, the former must be significantly stronger. To my mind, an eagle's feet and a human head and neck are too close to being equal in strength, if indeed it isn't the other way round. I doubt that a bird of prey would risk impact with such large and solid prey at such a large differential speed.
Where does this claim come from? Is it based on proper modelling or other authoritative research, or is it just speculation from some pundit? It needs a ref. (Incidentally, it's 80 kmh, not mph, and most men I've met have had necks of nearer a foot in circumference than a foot in diameter...) Richard New Forest (talk) 17:36, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, think of it this way, the human skull is significantly softer than a brick, but a man can break through a brick with his head. I guess it's all about the follow-through. If the man were to slow down suddenly, he would be injured severely.Dinotitan (talk) 19:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Harpagornis Eagle[edit]

Regarding this supposed alternate name and the recently added ref [1]; disregarding wikimirrors, the only two places that refer to this eagle as "the Harpagornis Eagle" are Wikipedia and . On-line museum articles are notoriously unreliable sources for factual information about animals.

Interestingly, the cited webpage writes it as "the Harpagornis eagle" while "Moa" is not italicised. This suggests that the person who wrote the article probably wasnt't aware that its accepted common name is "Haast's Eagle" and decided to use the generic component of its binomial to refer to it in the vernacular.

All reputable sources refer to it as "Haast's Eagle". I've searched for a reliable ref for "Harpagornis Eagle" and have been unable to locate one so I will remove the info from the article. Secret Squïrrel, approx 06:35, 6 Fabruary 2009 (Earth Standard Time)

Wingspan & talon length[edit]

Among other useful data, The Lost World of the Moa (Worthy et al. 2002) offers spans between 214–260 cm (84¼–102½ in) based on remains. As I had thought earliel, 260–300 cm seemed suspiciously large for a forest eagle this weight, and turns out it is. Interestingly, before finding other data besides weight, i had speculated 9–15 kg Harpagornis to have a length range of 120–140 cm and wingspan of 225–265 cm using Crowned Eagle as template (seemed the best choice as, like Harpagornis, it is closely related to Aquila eagles unlike the harpy eagle complex), so it seems to have worked out quite well.

Note that none of today's forest eagles exceeds 210 cm in wingspan, with the largest span belonging to the Philippine Eagle (weight 4.7–8 kg) at 184–202 cm, marginally eclipsing the Harpy Eagle (3.8–9 kg) at 176–201 cm, with all the rest below 200 cm.

I've also seen talon lengths of 6–7.5 cm (c. 2½–3 in), similar to Harpy Eagle, which is surprisingly small. Compared to the Harpy Eagle one could have assumed talons up to 8–10 cm (3–4 in) long for this species.

--Anshelm '77 (talk) 14:01, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Wing Loading[edit]

Under the Heading "Size and habits," second paragraph ends with "rather it represents a departure from the mode of its ancestors' soaring flight, toward higher wing loading and increased maneuverability."

Following that link to wing loading, last sentence of first paragraph ends with "The high wing loading also decreases maneuverability."

There is a contradiction here that I can't fix, but seemed worth noting. I would be speculating, so I don't want to post an edit, but it seems to me that the higher wing loading in this bird is probably related to increasing it's strike speed at the cost of some maneuverability.

Jwachtel (talk) 18:55, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

The eagles also may have been hunted by humans[edit]

Removed unsupported and illogical weasel wording. Maori did not have the means to hunt these birds, in fact, the size of the bird and the bird's 300 pound prey would suggest the eagle was more likely to hunt the slow and easy prey left over after the moa was hunted to extinction. Their likely prey were people. Maori Poukai myth supports this but I won't include it for obvious reasons. (talk) 20:45, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Except that humans have been known to hunt down other animals that prey on them. You'd be surprised how severely a ferocious apex predator's health can be negatively impacted by having spears thrown at it on a routine basis.--Mr Fink (talk) 20:53, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Absolutely no reason why humans could not have hunted these eagles. Even humans armed only with spears are capable of hunting and killing everything from lions to bears to whales. (talk) 03:51, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

Jared Diamond in his book The Third Chimpanzee argues that the Maori exterminated the larger Moa and other flightless birds and may have also contributed to the demise of Haast's Eagle. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Dispute over depicted artwork[edit]

The image currently shown of a Haast's eagle model at Te Papa reportedly depicts a Golden eagle scaled up, not an actual Haast's eagle according to Dr. Mike Dickison ‏@adzebill (Twitter), the curator of the world's largest collection of Moa bones at the Whanganui Regional Museum. — Preceding unsigned comment added by VikOlliver (talkcontribs) 04:19, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:New Zealand Fairy Tern which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 09:15, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:New Zealand fairy tern which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 22:46, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

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