The Haast’s Eagle
posted by Blueeyedeagle on Carnivora Forum
Body Length: 140 cm / 4 ft 7 in.
Height: 90 cm / 2 ft 11 in.
Wingspan 2.6-3 m / 8 ft 6 in - 9 ft 10 in.
Weight: 10-15 kg / 22-33 lb.
(text from wikipedia)
Haast’s Eagles were the largest true raptors, outsizing even the largest living vultures. This wingspan was similar to that of some surviving eagles (the largest Golden Eagles and Steller’s Sea Eagles), though even the largest extant eagles are about 40% smaller in body size. Short wings may have aided Haast’s Eagle when hunting in the dense scrubland and forests of New Zealand. Haast’s Eagle is sometimes portrayed as having evolved towards flightlessness, but this is not so; rather, it represents a departure from its ancestors’ mode of soaring flight toward higher wing loading and increased maneuverability. The strong legs and massive flight muscles would have enabled the birds to take off with a jumping start from the ground, despite their great weight. The tail was almost certainly long (up to 50 cm (20 inches), in female specimens) and very broad, further increasing maneuverability and compensating for the reduction in wing area by providing additional lift.
Haast’s Eagle preyed on large, flightless bird species that were unable to defend themselves from the striking force and speed of these eagles. Among its prey was the moa which was up to 15 times its weight. It attacked at speeds up to 80 km/h (50 mph), often seizing its prey’s pelvis with the talons of one foot and killing with a blow to the head or neck with the other. Its size and weight indicate a bodily striking force equivalent to a cinder block landing on the target from a height of 25 m (82 ft). Its large beak also could be used to rip into the internal organs of its prey and death then, would have been caused by blood loss.
(via: Carnivore Forum)