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date: 15 May 2021

Haast’s eagle

Dictionary Plus Science and Technology
Rebecca LenihanRebecca Lenihan

Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei) 

An extinct bird of prey that was endemic to New Zealand, named for Julius von Haast, the first director of the Canterbury Museum. It was the world’s largest eagle, with a wingspan of up to 3 m, and weighing approximately 12 kg. When its primary prey, moa, were hunted to extinction in c.1550 ad, Haast’s eagle likewise became extinct. Skeletal remains suggest its legs and bill were larger and stronger than the largest living vulture species, and its feet and claws were as large as a tiger’s.

Rebecca Lenihan