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Haring Ibon: Romancing the Philippine Eagle

The Philippine eagle is one of the largest and most endangered eagles in the world. They say second only to the harpy eagle, but I would contest that really. At least from some readings we've made, the Philippine Eagle is the largest in terms of wingspan and height. Anyways, without arguing, eagles are predators and are called raptors, along with other birds which prey on smaller creatures like lemurs, bats, deers, squirrels, snakes, rats, civets and birds.

The Philippine eagle, according to latest findings by Haribon, a non-governmental organization named after the Philippine's national bird - the Philippine eagle, can be spotted in just four islands—Mindanao, Luzon, Leyte, and Samar particularly northern Sierra Madre Natural Park on Luzon and Mt. Kitangland and Mt. Apo Natural Parks on Mindanao. Scientists estimate that perhaps only a few hundred pairs remain in the wild. This is because the eagle needs a wide span of rainforest for its territory, around 25 to 50 miles for a breeding pair, and with the rate of deforestation and carelessnesss towards natural resources, we are slowly losing our nation's pride.

Philippine Eagle's Attributes

With the scientific name Pithecophaga jefferyi, Haribon or haring ibon, is huge. It got its name in 1896 when a British naturalist and explorer named John Whitehead collected a specimen from Samar. Pithecophaga means monkey-eating and jefferyi was taken from Whitehead's father, Jeffery, who financed the son's travels. A presidential proclamation renamed it the Philippine eagle in 1978, to promote national pride in the magnificent endangered bird. In 1995 the Philippine eagle replaced the maya as the national bird.

We at Cultureight Travel personally think it looks very masculine and commanding, with great personality than any other eagle we've seen. Just its spiky nape makes it appear more robust and aggressive. It has a wingspan of around seven feet and a weight of up to 7 kilos. So when it flies above you, it casts a huge shadow.

They build their nests 80 to 160 feet above the ground and are monogamous until one dies. We'd say they are very much like us humans. They hatch every eggs every other year, from September until February. Maybe because these are dry months not often visited by typhoons. Both eagle parents tend to the egg, with the female playing more part. Once the egg hatches, the eaglet is fed on the nest for about five months, well provided and cared for by the parents. After which it is taught to hunt for food.

In Mindanao, there is the Philippine Eagle Foundation which cares for the specie, championing it to prevent extinction. It was established in 1987 and has produced conservation and education efforts as well as 21 birds while in captivity.

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