In November 2020, a photograph supposedly showing a rainbow-colored harpy eagle circulated on social media:
This is not a genuine photograph of a harpy eagle. This image was digitally edited to make this beautiful bird appear more colorful than it is in reality.
This image was created by Arstation user Godserg_art circa 2018 as part of a series of rainbow-colored animals. The original posting was accompanied by tags such as “Digital Painting,” “illustration,” and “speedpaint,” as well as a note from Godserg_art indicating that the software Photoshop was used to create this image.
The harpy eagle is the largest raptor in the Americas and one of the largest in the world. Full-grown harpy eagles have a wingspan that extends nearly 7 feet across and have talons that rival bear claws. The American Bird Conservancy writes:
These powerful eagles are at the top of the rainforest food chain and have no natural predators. They prey on tree-dwelling mammals including sloths, monkeys, and opossums; large birds such as macaws and curassows; and reptiles like iguanas and snakes.
Truly impressive birds, Harpy Eagles’ legs are as thick as a person’s arm and their talons are three to four inches long — the same size as a grizzly bear’s claws!
Although these are impressively large raptors, they aren’t particularly colorful. PBS writes:
“The harpy eagle has dark gray feathers with a white underside. A black band of plumage spans its neck and a fan of gray feathers crowns its head. Male and female plumage is identical.”
Here’s a genuine photograph of a harpy eagle: