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In Photos: Birds of Prey

Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

(Image credit: Hotshotsworldwide | Dreamstime)

With a 6.5-foot wingspan, the harpy eagle is one of the world's largest eagles. In fact, its hind talons rival grizzly bear claws in size. Its scientific name, Harpia harpyja, stems from the Greek word "harpe," which Aristotle and other Greek scholars used to describe birds of prey. Mythological "harpies" had a bird's body, fearsome claws and a woman's face.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

(Image credit: Thomas G. Barnes | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service )

Like the osprey, the barn owl (Tyto alba) is found on all continents except Antarctica. It prefers to live near grassy fields and meadows, where it hunts mice, bats and even skunks. Its white face is framed by a heart-shaped facial disk, and its tawny body is flecked with small black-and-white spots. The barn owl doesn't make the expected "hoot" sound, instead producing a high-pitched scream that sounds like a screeching cat.