Part of the A-to-Z blog challenge. My theme is legends and legendary creatures. Every day (except Sundays) this month, a legend beginning with that day’s word will be featured. I hope you enjoy following along!
Eagle: the Roc
Legends of giant predatory birds abound, such as the Roc, appearing in Arabian fairy tales, sailors’ folklore, and more. (Remember the Tales of Sinbad the Sailor?) But this isn’t just in Arabian tales. Beliefs of such birds existed in Europe and New Zealand too. But why? Is there any evidence there could have once existed such a giant bird of prey?
Let’s take a look at an extinct eagle species we do have evidence of:
The Haast’s eagle
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. Its massive size was perfect for the size of its prey, the flightless moa bird: the largest of which could weigh 230 kg (510 lb). Haast’s eagle became extinct around 1400 after the moa were hunted to extinction by humans.
Want to get an idea of how big this predator of the skies was?
Here is the Haast eagle’s prey, the now-extinct flightless moa:
Artist’s depiction of a Haast’s eagle hunting them:
Sculptor’s now bring this giant bird of prey “to life” for us:
Hmm, I’m thinking the idea of massive birds of prey like the Roc might not be that far out there, after all… This thing could hunt humans… Check out Wingspan.co.nz for more about Haast’s eagle.
And keep a wary eye to the skies as you go about your day. 😉 Unless you’re Gandalf, of course.
(Information and art credit: Wikipedia, and wingspan.co.nz . Art belongs to their respective owners, not me.)