Phillippine Eagle


Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Pithecophaga
  • Species: P. jefferyi

There are few animals with a more regal character than the Philippine eagle. The national symbol of the Philippines, and among the largest of eagles, these towering creatures can flare up a crest of feathers around their necks that resemble a lion’s mane. Known as the masters of the sky, this eagle species has an incredible wingspan of up to 7 feet, making them highly effective flyers. Their plumage is a mix of white and brown and their yellow feet end in powerful, deadly talons. Their flight is more akin to that of an agile hawk than larger birds of prey. Monkeys, flying lemurs and palm civets are their most common food, and they also eat snakes, rats, birds, bats and flying squirrels and have been known to even prey on young pigs and dogs.

Today, the Philippine eagle is listed as a critically endangered species. Found only in the Philippines, there are between 91-242 breeding pairs remaining in the wild, with only a handful on some islands. In their history, 50 specimens have been kept in zoos across the world. Mature females lay only one egg every two years and the chick is dependent on the parents for about a year, making reproduction quite a lengthy process. However, this species of eagle has a rather long life-span typically between 30 to 60 years.

Much of the blame as to why this powerful species is currently listed as critically endangered, points towards human activity. Throughout recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of pressure on their habitats. Deforestation has had a particularly negative impact on the animal, with much of their natural habitat being cleared on a daily basis. While killing a Philippine eagle carries a 12-year prison sentence, sadly the animal is still hunted for food or caught in traps intended for other animals. Conservation teams in the area are working hard to try to protect much of the environment from future deforestation and, are reinforcing the strict sentences that already apply to the killing of one of these magnificent birds.

Estimated Philippine Eagle population figures between 2010 and 2016

The above graph represents the estimated Philippine Eagle population figures between the years of2010 and 2016. In general, the wild Philippine Eagle populationis extremely difficult to measure, butit is thought that there are between 180 and 500 individuals remaining in Philippines today.

The figures above show that in 2016 it was estimated that 490 Philippine Eagles remained in thewild, in comparison to that of 540 individuals. Over the past 6years, the wild Philippine Eaglepopulation has seen a loss of 50 individuals, though this figure may not seem particularly high, illegalhunting and other threats continue to affect the population negatively. As the population is alreadylow, every death has a significant impact on the security of the species future.

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