Haast's Eagle
Temporal range: Pleistocene
An artist's illustration of Haast's Eagle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Harpagornis
Haast, 1872
Type species
Harpagornis moorei
Haast, 1872

Haast's Eagle (Harpagornis moorei) was a species of eagle that once lived on the South Island of New Zealand.

Haast Eagle

The species was the largest eagle known to have existed. Its prey consisted mainly of Moa, gigantic flightless birds that were unable to defend themselves from the striking force and speed of these eagles, which at times reached 80 km/h (50 mph). The Eagle's massive size may have been an evolutionary response to the size of its prey, as both would have been much smaller when they first came to the island, and would have grown larger over time due to lack of competition (see island gigantism). Haast's Eagle became extinct around the year 1400, when its major food source, the Moa, were hunted to extinction by Maori and much of its dense-fore st habitat was cleared.