What Animals Live in the Emergent Layer?

Animals that live in the emergent layer include harpy eagles, sparrowhawks, pygmy gliders, lesser dawn bats and vampire bats. Orangutans and gibbons also make their home in the rainforest’s emergent layer.

Harpy eagles, named after the harpies of Greek mythology, typically live in the rainforests of Central and South America, although the destruction of their habitat has caused many of them to move to Panama. The birds weigh approximately 20 pounds and are distinguished by their mottled coloring, 7-foot wing span and large feet, which are roughly the same size as an adult human male’s. Their coloring allows them to blend in with the bark of the surrounding trees, making it easy for them to capture prey, such as sloths and monkeys, in both the emergent layer and the forest canopy.

Sparrowhawks received their name because of their small stature. Male sparrowhawks are distinguished by the slate-gray coloring on their backs and wings and thin red stripes on their chest and belly. The males are typically less than eight inches in length, although some may grow up to 13 inches in length. Female sparrowhawks are typically 25 percent larger than the males. The birds are found in the northern portion of South America as well as the southern portion of Central America. They feed on small rodents and birds generally about the same size as they are, although the larger size of female sparrowhawks allows them to prey on larger birds, such as starlings and thrushes.