NEW ZEALAND'S HAAST EAGLE
The Haast's eagle is an extinct species of eagle that once lived in the South Island of New Zealand, commonly accepted to be the pouakai of Maori legend. The species was the largest eagle known to have existed.
CLAWS AS BIG AS TIGERS
It is the largest, heaviest eagle species yet described, weighing up to 17.8 kg and had a wingspan up to 3 metres. Near-complete skeleton finds show that it had the body and wings of a giant eagle, legs and bill larger and stronger than the largest living vulture species, and feet and claws as big as a modern day tiger's.
WHY DID THEY GO EXTINCT
The Haast’s eagle went extinct relatively recently. Evidence shows that this huge eagle existed when Maori first arrived in New Zealand some 800 years ago, and accounts suggest that it may even have still existed when Europeans arrived in the early 1800’s.
Unfortunately, because it relied so heavily on Giant Moa's for its sustenance, Haast's Eagle was doomed when these slow, gentle, flightless birds were hunted to extinction by the first human settlers of New Zealand, going extinct itself shortly afterward. It has now been extinct for 500 years.
THE MAN EATING BIRD!
There are local Maori legends of the Haast Eagle also known as the Te Hokioi hunting children and adults alike. It had talons measuring up to 75mm long and had the power to crush a pelvis. It's main food source was the Giant Moa which weighed in at 250kgs and stood up to 2.5m tall.