Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi

Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi 1

Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi

Critically endangered

Extant (breeding): Philippines

Philippine Eagles are classified as Critically Endangered due to enormous habitat decline and anthropogenic threats. There are estimated to be 180-600 eagles left in the wild.

Forest destruction and fragmentation, through commercial timber extraction and shifting cultivation, is their principal long-term threat. Much of the land surrounding Davao, Philippines has been converted from forest land to agricultural to grow banana, coffee, cacao, palm oil and another oil-producing plant called jatropha.

Mongabay

Apex predator and flying royalty of the jungle, Philippine #Eagles are critically endangered from: #climatechange #palmoil #timber and #cacao #deforestation and illegal #hunting. Help them and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife

Diet

The Philippine Eagle was formerly known as the Monkey-eating Eagle. The species preys opportunistically on a variety of animals. They have been known to eat flying lemurs, small ungulates, humans, asian palm civets, macaques, flying squirrels, fruit bats, rats, hornbills, snakes, monitor lizards, pigs and small dogs.

Mating

They are monogamous and mate for life, unless one of the pair dies. Their breeding cycle lasts around 2 years and both parents share the care of fledglings for around 20 months.

Habitat

Endemic to the Philippines, they are found on only four islands: Leyte, Luzon, Mindanao, and Samar. They are found in old growth dipterocarp and montane forests, particularly in steep areas. They range from lowlands to mountains of over 1,800 m tall. Only an estimated 9,220 km2of old-growth forest remain in the Philippine Eagle’s range.

Threats

Populations are being squeezed and contracted by multiple threats including: deforestation and declining, fragmented habitat. Pressures include agricultural expansion for timber, palm oil, banana, coffee and cacao. Mining operations, uncontrolled illegal poaching, pesticide accumulation and extreme weather events caused by climate change. The killing this critically endangered species is punishable under Philippine law by 12 years in jail and heavy fines. Their population has decreased to only 180 to 600 eagles. A series of floods and mud slides, caused by deforestation have further devastated the remaining wild population. The Philippine eagle may soon no longer be found in the wild, unless direct intervention is taken. 

Appearance

The Philippine eagle’s neck is festooned with a shaggy crest in a creamy brown colour. Their faces are a dark with piercing and bright blue-grey eyes. The undersides of their wings are white and their heavy, muscular legs are tipped with powerful dark claws.

Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi 3

They are the longest extant species of eagle, with an average total body length of 95 cm for males and 105 cm for females. Sexual dimophism is not certain but males are estimated be around 10% smaller than females.

There has only ever been one species of eagle longer than this – the now extinct Haast eagle of Aotearoa New Zealand (average of 112 cm in body length). They have an impressive wingspan of between 1.8-2 metres.

They make their presence known in the forest with a loud, high-pitched whistles ending with inflections in pitch. Additionally, younger eagles have been known to beg for food by a series of high-pitched calls.

Protecting the Philippine eagle would also protect 780 other plant and animal species in the Philippines

Noblest_Flyer_Philippine_Eagle

The Peregrine Fund considers the Philippine eagle an “umbrella species,” meaning that “conserving Philippine eagles and their habitat automatically provides protection for all the other plants and animals that live there too.” This would include the 780 plant and animal species in the Philippines that are listed as “Threatened” on the IUCN Red List, including the critically endangered freshwater crocodile, tamaraw, Walden’s hornbill, Philippine cockatoo and the Philippine forest turtle.

Mongabay

You can support this beautiful animal

Philippine Eagle Foundation

Further Information

iucn-rating-critically-endangered

BirdLife International. 2018. Pithecophaga jefferyi (amended version of 2017 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22696012A129595746. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T22696012A129595746.en. Accessed on 05 September 2022.


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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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