So there is a mythical creature called a harpy, who was a half woman, half bird.

Anything on what type of bird it was?

  • I was surveying some of source material and there doesn't seem to be anything specific.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 1:16

3 Answers 3


I'm not aware of any specific species being mentioned in the myths.

Traditional depictions generally seems to have considered the bird part to be some kind of bird of prey (given the size and the claws).

Further, given their nature as befouling creatures, I'd expect some kind of scavenger bird, like a vulture or buzzard.

  • Probably vulture as a buzzard couldn't support a human head. Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 8:47
  • 2
    You can't apply modern scientific reasoning to a subject like this.
    – Spencer
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 11:35

In this classical depiction they are simply women with wings:


Actually, rather like angels in Christian iconography.


considering that in most media forms, harpies have a pretty humanlike-posture, I mean they mostly have their backs straight. considering they always are depicted as meat eaters and very territorial, I would consider them being close to the eagle.

being eagle based can also explain why some say that harpies live in mountains or near oceans. since there are subspecies of eagles who live inland while other subspecies live near large bodies of water other predator birds like buzzards and falcons havený such a diverse diet. they probably aren't based on owls since owls have plumage on their legs, and most other birds don't.

  • This answer is more media-based. Can you explain mythologically?
    – bleh
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 19:52
  • in some myths the tell about mountain passes where you harpies would swoop down from the air to attack their prey, while other myths tell of sailors being hunted. this means that harpies could hunt near large bodies of water, like oceans or lakes. but Harpies can also be found in mountain ranges. this is parralel to the habitats of certain eagles. I hope this answer is more to your taste Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 20:04
  • Like, you can hit the edit button and stuff to edit it.
    – bleh
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 21:16

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