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Meet A Bird With a Fan of Feathers

Harpy Eagle
(Image credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo)

 Toruk, a 3-year-old male harpy eagle, held an impressive pose for guests to the San Diego Zoo's Discovery Days: Festival of Flight on Thursday. The four-day event runs through Sunday and is filled with fun activities for the whole family, from scavenger hunts to keeper talks to an amazing aerial feeding frenzy in the Scripps Aviary and up-close encounters with birds like Toruk.        Harpy eagles have excellent vision that allows them to see something less than 1 inch in size from almost 220 yards away. But the feathers on the top of the head, which can be fanned out into a bold crest distinguishes this raptor from other eagles. Toruk's keepers say he seems to raise these when he is curious, but biologists also theorize it may help the eagle break its silhouette in the rain forests of Central and South America where they are found. With a wingspan of up to 6.5 feet and a weight of up to 20 pounds, the harpy eagle is the one of the largest raptors in the Americas and is the strongest in the world. With excellent eyesight, incredibly strong talons, a shorter wingspan and a long tail to duck and dive through trees, this eagle is well equipped for hunting.        The San Diego Zoo has been home to harpy eagles since 1987, during which 15 eagles have hatched. Two of these eagles were released into their native habitat in Panama. The San Diego Zoo was the first zoo to successfully raise this species of raptor in the United States. The Zoo is currently home to two harpy eagles, including Toruk, who is currently acting as an animal ambassador. Toruk's role is to provide an up-close encounter with San Diego Zoo guests, helping his trainers share conservation messages about this rare eagle.

Live Science Staff
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