Pouakai

The Maori (or Ma¯ori) folklore tells of the Pouakai, a large bird that often attacked warriors and was quite capable of carrying off children. Could this have been the now extinct Haasts eagle, Harpagornis moorei (shown above), said to be one of the world’s largest living eagle? Female Haast’s eagles weighed 10 to 15 kg (22 to 33 lb), and males weighed 9 to 10 kg (20 to 22 lb). They had a wingspan of roughly 2.6 to 3 m (8 to 10 ft) at most, which was short for a bird of the eagle’s weight (the largest Golden Eagles and Steller’s Sea Eagles may have wings of almost the same width), but aided them when hunting in the dense forests of New Zealand.

[Note: Harpagornis was recently shown to be synonymous with Hieraaetus, according to Darren Naish.]

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