On July 4, 1995, President Fidel V. Ramos signed Proclamation No. 615. This document made the Philippine eagle the national bird of the Philippines and enjoined its conservation and protection.
The Philippine eagle is endemic to the Philippines. According to the IUCN Red List, “Mindanao supports the bulk of the population, with recent research estimating 82-233 breeding pairs.” There are an estimated “six pairs on Samar and perhaps two on Leyte, and Luzon may have very few left.” Because of the dwindling population, the Philippine eagle is classified as a critically endangered species.
The scientific name of the Philippine eagle is Pithecophaga jefferyi Ogilvie-Grant, 1897. The genus name comes from the ancient Greek words píthecos, which means “an ape,” and phageîn, which means “to eat,” according to Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon.
I do not think that the Philippine eagle eats apes. In fact, I do not think that there are any wild apes in the Philippines. However, this bird does eat monkeys, and for this reason it is sometimes called the monkey-eating eagle. (I have seen the word píthecos applied to monkeys in more modern Greek, and perhaps the ancient Greek term is broad enough to include monkeys, although my small Greek dictionary does not support this supposition.)
The specific name jefferyi honors Jeffery Whitehead, whose son discovered the Philippine eagle in 1896, according to Avian Web.
William Robert Ogilvie-Grant gave this species its scientific name. He was a Scottish ornithologist who lived from 1863 to 1924, according to the British Museum.
Pithecophaga jefferyi is a chordate of the animal kingdom. It belongs to the class Aves, the order Accipitriformes, and the class Accipitridae.
The Philippine eagle has a shaggy crest. Its ventral region and the lower surface of its wings are white. Its back and the upper surface of its wings are dark brown. It has a “dark face, creamy-buff crown, and nape with black shaft-streaks,” according to BirdLife International. Its legs are yellow, and its bill is bluish gray.
According to Avian Web, “the Philippine Eagle is the world’s largest living eagle in terms of length. The species has a wingspan of approximately two meters.” However, it apparently is not the heaviest living eagle.
Because of its large size, this species is called haring ibon in the Philippines. Hari is a Tagalog word meaning “king,” and ibon means “bird.” The letters “ng” attached to hari functions as a connective that unites the two words. Accordingly, the Philippine eagle is locally regarded as the king of birds.
The Philippine eagle prefers to live in dipterocarp forests with closed canopies. According to Merriam-Webster, dipterocarps are “tall hardwood tropical trees of southeastern Asia that have 2-winged fruit and are the source of valuable timber, aromatic oils, and resins.” They are tall trees, ideal for Philippine eagle nests.
According to the University of Michigan Department of Zoology, both the male and female eagle engage in courtship flights. They soar; they swoop; they perform other antics, such as presenting their talons to one another.. They mate for life, but if one dies, the other may find a new mate. If all goes well, they raise one offspring every two years.
If hunters let it alone and no other disaster strikes, this species may live to a ripe old age. According to the University of Michigan Department of Zoology, its estimated life span is thirty to 60 years.