One of the eagles is a mama bird, while the other is an adorable eagle chick.
Because the giant bird of prey lives in the darkest portions of the rainforest and hunts its quarry in dead silence, many Peruvian Amazon birders can go their entire lives without seeing one, said nature photographer Jeff Cremer, who photographed the eagles.
“It’s about as rare as seeing a unicorn,” Cremer told Live Science.
Harpy eagles (Harpia harpyja) are imposing creatures. The massive birds can be up to 3 feet (0.9 meters) tall, with wingspans reaching 6 feet (1.8 m), Cremer said. Like stealth bombers, the birds of prey glide silently; they move through the shadows of the rainforest, hunting sloths, monkeys and even an occasional deer, Cremer said. To better hunt their prey, the eagles can turn their heads 180 degrees to face upward while flying through the dense rainforest, and can also fluff up their white head feathers, creating an acoustic funnel to direct sound to their ears.
When they do capture an unsuspecting animal, the eagles crush it, killing it instantly with their huge talons, which can produce hundreds of pounds of force, Cremer added.
“They have claws the size of an adult grizzly bear,” Cremer told Live Science.