or what some of the locals in the southern highlands have nicknamed ‘the grim reaper’
descended from the iconic bald eagle of North america, it is one of the few old world raptor birds in the continent that’s still more ‘bird’ than raptor, as most other predatory birds have resorted to adaptations that seemingly reverts them back to that of their Jurassic form, loosing flight capabilities in favor of larger size and hunting with speed on the ground.
however Haliaaetus craniocephalo is still very much capable of flight, making it a very formidable and feared creature to southern nationeers, the fact that no one ever managed to tame them isn’t helping either. And even though it isn’t as large as its ground dwelling relatives, it makes up for it in sheer aggression and brute force, like an avian equivalent of a honey badger. Not to mention, the ridiculously long phalanges it sports on its wings, looking much like a scythe which it uses to attack other carrion feeders competing for its meal. This, coupled with its skull-like face made of keratin and black metallic feathers gave it its titular nickname.
This adaptation isn’t without purpose, having a face that looks like it has been torn to shreds helps Haliaaetus mimic a rotting dead corpse to avoid larger predatory animals when it is cornered, the fact that it commonly feasts on rotting corpses like a vulture and gets covered in decomposing blood and tissue enforces that adaptation. Haliaaetus even adapted to have pungent odors from its blood, and staying true to its brutal fashion, the bird has been known to deliberately puncture its own skin to draw blood when there aren’t any nearby external sources for it to cloak itself with when in danger.